Burn the Batteau

Burn the Batteau, a local blues-rock trio consisting of seasoned musicians David Martin, Donnie Beadles and Sammy Garcia, hopes to ignite the airwaves with the soon-to-be released album, Fire and Gasoline. The debut album, a culmination of seven months of collaborative effort, features 10 original tracks, all written by Martin and Beadles. It was recorded and produced at Martin’s recording studio, Cinnamon Roll Sound.

Of the collaboration between the two musician/writers, Beadles said, “David and I are first cousins, and we both were aware of each other’s endeavors in music, but for some reason were just never able to get together and jam.”

The connection and the collaboration, which would become Burn the Batteau, took place late last year when Beadles took the stage with Martin, Mike Cole, Brad Thomasson and Adam Snow to perform at one of Halifax’s Friday Night Jams at the Halifax Farmer’s Market. Believing that there was musical chemistry during that show, the two continued to rehearse at Martin’s studio, and before long they were writing original songs, often in quick succession.

From these writing sessions, 10 tracks were developed, including, in order:

1. Jealous 

2. Moanin’ After Midnight

3. Nothing Like You

4. Talk to Me, Baby

5. Fire and Gasoline

6. Jealous - Delta Blues Acoustic

7. Chance to Mend

8. So Tired

9. Shake These Blues

10. Blue Drops of Rain

As the tracks were laid, Martin began the process of putting it all together.

“I served as the recording engineer, building on techniques and processes I began to study and perfect during my time with Grandmaster Slice and Izzy Chill – I was Izzy Chill,” Martin said.

In addition to writing and recording, Martin also plays bass, Hammond organ, piano, harmonica, drums and percussion and backup vocals for the album.

Martin’s musical roots run deep. He became interested in music at a very early age, writing his first song at about 4.

“There was music in the house every day when I was growing up. We had Tom Jones on the record player, mama was singing Elvis, and daddy was singing Jim Reeves,” he said.

He later joined with classmate and fellow marching band drummer, Stacey Rogers, to form Grandmaster Slice and Izzy Chill after high school. Their hit song “Shall We Dance” is still often played in clubs, gatherings and wedding receptions.

In recent years, Martin has performed in several local bands, on different instruments. Most recently, he worked with Love, Peace and Chicken Grease as a vocalist and Hammond organ player.

On Fire and Gasoline, Beadles sings lead vocals and plays electric guitar, slide guitar and bass in addition to his writing credits. He has been playing blues guitar and singing since he was about 14 years old and has performed in several local bands, most recently Donnie Beadles and the Hot Damn Band. He was even lucky enough to have once been chosen from the crowd to play on stage with notable blues artist Robert Randolph.

Beadles grew up listening to blues and what has become classic rock, often watching his father, Elvis Beadles, play guitar with friends and neighbors in frequent Crystal Hill back porch sessions.

He was influenced by many of the blues/rock greats of the 60s and 70s such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. It was, however, the music and style of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which had the greatest impact on the guitarist. He would play along to Stevie Ray’s records until his fingers bled, working hours upon hours to emulate and eventually master the creative energy captured in those recordings. 

“I had actually plateaued and started to go lukewarm on playing the electric guitar, but then I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan. Those recordings inspired me to pick up the guitar again and really start to explore how the instrument could convey powerful emotions,” he said.

Sammy Garcia, who started playing drums at age 3, rounds out this powerful blues trio. 

Sammy recalled, “My first kit was pots and pans in the kitchen floor.” 

He lists his influences as Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Anika Niles, Emmanuelle Caplette and Robert Sweet.

A highly technical drummer, Garcia is versed in many different styles, from Latin to metal. His grooves, however, are what really shine forth on this album. But Garcia does not take full credit for his abilities with drums.

“I feel honored that God gave me the ability to pick up on all these different styles of music,” he said. Sammy also enjoys playing drums every Sunday at South Boston Church of God in Centerville.

To round out the sound on the album, the band reached out to regional talents, saxophonists Jimmy and Kevin Smiley of South Hill to provide the soulful tapestries on two of the tracks, “Nothing Like You” and “Chance to Mend.”

Once their sessions were completed, the mixing and mastering began. This process was completed in August, and now with the completion of the album artwork by local artist Ron Miller, the finished product stands to be released within a few weeks.

The album has begun to attract a great deal of attention. A video slideshow for the song “Nothing Like You” has accumulated nearly 6,000 views on Facebook. Songs from the album have been featured on music informational podcast, “The D Chord” by radio host and professional musician, Matt Crowder, where he compared the bands sound to Blues greats Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Tedeschi Trucks Band, saying he “couldn’t stop listening to this album.” 

Of the third track, “Nothing Like You’” Crowder said, “The song is very cinematic in nature. The music and lyrics work perfectly together to project an incredible movie...”

Most encouragingly, three songs from the album have gotten radio airplay in the UK. Scottish radio DJ Hugh Fee of Irvine Beat FM called the songs “..great...simply brilliant...with excellent vocals in particular” and referred to Burn the Batteau as “...a great band that I definitely think we’ll be hearing a lot from.” 

The band’s next steps are to make the album available for download and for sale on CD and vinyl. They have just begun to rehearse for live shows and hope to market the album vigorously as they play these original songs live at local and regional venues.

“Of course, we will be sending this album to everyone we can to see if it catches fire,” Martin said. “We would love to be part of a modern-day blues/rock resurgence.”

Burn the Batteau’s debut album Fire and Gasoline will be coming soon to iTunes, Amazon and multiple other outlets.

Dolores Cabaniss writes a weekly Concert Calendar column. Contact her dcabaniss@gazettevirginian.com.

Dolores Crute reports on entertainment news for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at dcrute@gazettevirginian.com.