Delray Musician Hitting High Notes With New Record

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By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor

The one constant in Steve Martel’s life has always been music.

The Delray Beach musician and real estate agent has lived up north in Massachusetts, out west in California and now in the Lake Ida neighborhood of Delray. No matter where he found himself living, he has always been in a band, produced original music and performed live at different bars and venues.

And at 55 he said he feels like he just won American Idol.

This summer he is working on a new album, which will be produced by Miami music mogul Rudy Perez’s son, Chris Price.

Perez has produced and written music for acclaimed artists including Christina Aguilera, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce.

Martel said the album will likely be released in the fall and have 10 tracks on it. The title will probably be “The Joe Cotton Band” — the name of Martel’s band. He is even planning on shooting a music video for one of the songs.

Joe Cotton is not just a name Martel created, it is literally his birth name. Martel discovered his birth certificate read Joseph Michael Cotton. He found the document after his father died.

The Joe Cotton Band has been around for the past decade. Martel said members come and go.

The current group consists of all Delray musicians. Martel said this particular group has been together for about a year and a half. They have a gig planned at Old School Square’s Crest Theatre on June 8 and at the Arts Garage on Sept. 23.

Martel plays guitar, bass and sings. The first instrument he picked up was a clarinet in the fourth grade. From then on, he was always playing an instrument from violin to guitar and even piano from time to time.

He began writing original songs in high school. The musicians he grew up listening to are what inspires his music. That includes anything from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and The Eagles.

“It’s a potpourri, a hodgepodge, a blend of every influence we have been tickled by,” Martel said of his band’s music.

Over the years, he said he his music has matured the same way he did.

“What became important in the real world became more important in the lyrics,” he said.

He said lyrics typically pop into his head and he hopes he has a pad of paper and a pen around  to jot them down before he loses them. Sometimes they are accompanied by a melody.

“Lyrics are never forced,” he said. “They just come out.”

One of the new songs on the album is named “Twice.” He said the song is about getting back together with his wife, Lori, his high school sweetheart who married his best friend first. Price’s brother Adam Perez plays the drums on the track that Martel wrote and sings.