Michael Martyn has been gigging locally as “Michael Martyn Good Medicine” since 1979. For a while, he was playing five nights a week, maybe more, and has played every venue in town. He’s a local legend, kind of.

“I’m one of the most well-known unknown musicians in Santa Cruz,” Martyn jokes. “I’ve been playing all around Santa Cruz forever. I’ve been on KPIG radio. I’ve hosted a ton of open mics, but since a lot of the venues are gone for solo or duo acoustic music, there’s not a lot. I’m persistent. I’m going to do it till I can’t play anymore.”

When Martyn does play these days, it’s usually a stripped-down Americana type thing, with influences ranging from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and the Byrds. However, his 66th birthday bash show Thursday at Don Quixote’s will offer a rare glimpse of what he sounds like backed by a full electric band.

“I can’t afford my band. They’re like the top A-team of Santa Cruz,” Martyn says. “Everybody thinks I’m going to play country because I wear a cowboy hat. No, I do rock. It’s folk-rock, blues-based psychedelic rock. This show will be Americana rocked up.”

Through the years, as the lineups have changed, Martyn has considered changing his band name, but the more he thought about it, the more he knows it would set him back.

“I learned it from Willie Nelson. He said once that if you keep changing your name, no one is going to know who you are. If you keep the same name, they’re always going to know who you are.”


INFO: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.

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