Writer for Casper Journal
“An Intimate Evening with Pete Martinez,” a special single performance by Nashville recording artist, Pete Martinez, will be hosted by the Nicolaysen Art Museum Thursday, May 3.
Martinez comes from a family of musicians. His ability was discovered at an early age. His father placed a guitar in his hands, hoping to share his love of music with his son. The four-year-old picked up that guitar and after a short lesson was able to play. It’s a time that he remembers vividly. “I remember being able to do everything I was shown and play everything I heard,” Martinez said. “My father was the first musical influence that I had and he introduced me to all of his favorites, which became the foundation for my own music.” They played together, with Martinez’s brother, Anthony. Traditional country music, such as Merle Haggard, Hank Williams and Elvism was often heard echoing through the halls.
Martinez has come a long way from playing at the feet of his father. He played for President Bush at his inaugural party in Washington, D.C., and was asked to play in Las Vegas for two world finals rodeos. The little boy who began by playing with his family in the living room of their Casper home has shared a stage with Chris Ledoux, Montgomery Gentry and Blake Shelton, among others.
While Martinez has always loved music, he’s pursued other interests as well. His rodeo career inspired his well-known song, “Bullrider.” It also taught him about the ethics and traditions of the west. “It allowed me to push the boundaries in life and realize that could be applied to all areas of my life. Getting out of your comfort zone, if it’s on the back of a bull or under the lights of a stage, is the same.”
Martinez still has an adrenaline rush when he performs. “I’m always nervous when I get on stage. It makes my adrenaline flow. The day that doesn’t happen is the day I should just stay at home and hang it up.” He said that the smaller the venue, the more exposed the performer is. “The degree of intimacy increases the degree of exposure, but it provides the great opportunity to connect on a deeper level.”
He’s been searching for a venue for a more intimate concert here in Casper. “I’ve wanted to do an intimate concert in Casper; I didn’t find the right venue until Connie Gibbins asked me to consider playing at the NIC. As soon as I walked into it, I knew it was right. Not only because of the way it’s set up but also because it houses Wyoming art.” The concert will benefit the touring exhibition from the Conrad Schwiering collection. The landscape variations at the core of Schwiering’s work represent a connection with Wyoming that’s shared by Martinez. “Being born and raised in Wyoming has an influence on being in touch with raw country, with the elements of the west from nature to rodeo.”
Martinez’s love for the land led him to a degree in mechanical engineering, which allows him to assist agricultural landowners and municipalities manage their water assets. He jokes that people don’t usually associate musicians with science, but they both hold a fascination for him. For all of his fame and his success, Martinez remains, above all, grateful. “It means everything to be able to pursue the things that I love to do most. Music was my first love, but I love water resource development as well.”
The concert, which will tour listeners through the influences on Martinez’s life, is an opportunity for him to connect and thank his hometown. “This will be a reflection on the music that affected me in all stages of my life, from Casper to Nashville.” It will be his first performance since his father, Pete Martinez Sr., passed away and Martinez would like to dedicate the performance to honor the father who laid the foundations for his music as well as the community that supported them during his father’s illness.
“I want to thank the friends and family of the community for their support of me and my family during my father’s recent passing.” He said his father always had a good time playing music, that’s the one thing he always took away from playing together: it was just a good time. He still plays some of the songs that his father introduced him to, classics by traditional country artists.
Having just passed a milestone birthday, Martinez thinks this is the perfect time to take inventory of what has brought him to where he is today, and to prepare for the future. “I have several new album concepts in the making, and I see the audiences growing from coast to coast and in Europe. I’m preparing to meet that challenge. I’m also looking for a good dog and horse sitter.”
Martinez also looks forward to connecting with this audience on a deeper level by using a conversational format for the performance. “I want to have a conversation, to relate to them. I could do this somewhere else, but since I’m doing it at home, I think it will allow me to connect much deeper.”
He also wants to thank Casper. “I really want to thank all of the people in Casper who have supported my music and continued to support it. I honor the opportunity to contribute to the community through my music as well as to reconnect with the community through this performance.”