Concert Reviews

Jeff Martin at the Horseshoe Tavern

Photographs by Dawn Hamilton. 

(Toronto, ON) -The mood was set for Jeff Martin’s solo performance at the Horseshoe Tavern, with 4 tealight candles which glistened on a small restaurant table situated at center stage. The platform was simplistic, housing only a wooden high back stool for Martin to sit on, coupled with a few monitors, some foot pedals, an amp and a mic. A perfect setting for an intimate, stripped down version of The Tea Party.

Martin commenced the set by playing an instrumental song on a Hurdygurdy. An Eastern Indian style song for which he is known. Although this performance was an acoustic set, he had a few sample triggers of backing rhythms playing throughout a few parts to certain songs. To keep a back beat he tapped his foot on a flatpad that would translate the beat through the speakers. All this combined made Martinsound like a one man band. The power that emanated from Martin’s music and vocals didn’t leave you feeling like the songs were flat or underwhelming, quite the opposite. He quipped about being the frontman for the loudest band around, and true to his word he resonated through the entire venue.

The venue was packed, and Martin made mention of how overwhelmed he was to have a great attendance for his show. Women would whistle and scream how they loved him and he reciprocated with a shy smile and utter “right back at ya”. True to Jeff’s nature, with each passing song came Martin’s guitar tech, exchanging 6 strings for 12 strings.

Preluding to the song Requiem Jeff spoke of a good friend from Australia who was recovering from a tragic car accident, and dedicate that song to him. He spoke of how Daniel Lanois was inspiring to him, and talked about how he felt like Lanois wrote the song I love you for him. To which he then performed.

Hints of songs like I need your loving by The Four Tops as well as Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven made their way throughout songs much to his fans delight.

Performing Save Me, had the audience singing the chorus, while the ever popular Sister Awake brought a loud cheer throughout the audience. Easily a fan favorite.

I was impressed to see how Jeff Martin’s music brought together a vast variety of generations. A sweet elderly lady in her 60s stood at the front of the stage, while her much younger son stood beside her. Not only was she excited and familiar with his music, but had recounted how she stood 6 hours on New Years day to see him and The Tea Party perform. 

I must give credit where credit is due, Martin’s music is able to withstand the test of time and be relevant. A must see performance.

Set list:

Still Water



The Maker

I Love You. (Daniel Lanois)

Winter Solstice

A Line in the Sand

Save Me

Coming Home

Sister Awake

Black Snake Blues

About author

Photojournalist at Live in Limbo.