Andy “The Cayman Cowboy” Martin has just released his fifth album and this time, he’s gone gospel.
The 10-song collection of spiritual classics such as “The Old Rugged Cross,” “In the Sweet By-and-By” and “Amazing Grace” are merged with a few locally composed original tunes such as “The Old Sea Captain,” “When I See Mama Again” and “Stairs to Heaven” (not to be confused with “Stairway to Heaven”) by Led Zeppelin.
Andy Martin’s first local release was titled “The Cayman Cowboy,” which appeared on the shelves in 1973. This was followed a few years later with his super hit “Letter From the Sea,” which became sort of the unofficial anthem for merchant seamen around the world.
In the ‘70s through the mid-‘80s, the 45 RPM vinyl disc of this song could be heard on jukeboxes in nearly every port in the U.S., Canada and Central America.
“I’ve always dreamed of doing a gospel album before I (hopefully) walk through those pearly gates,” says Martin. “My friend Barefoot Man, along with Chuck and Barrie [Quappe], came forth and aided me financially with this production.”
In the world of downloading and file-sharing, physical CDs of any gender are a hard sell nowadays, however, Martin is hoping over the holidays that his devoted fans will gobble them up as stocking stuffers. He is also looking for support of his music and other local music from the local radio stations.
Andy Martin was born and raised on the island of Cayman Brac, which forms the largest of the Sister Islands. One can easily imagine him as a boy, romping on this unspoiled paradise, even more laid back than Grand Cayman.
He spent some 15 years traveling the seven seas. A good portion of his duties as an oiler with the National Bulk Ship agency required nothing more than to stay awake and remain alert, which gave him lots of time to strum his guitar and mimic his favorite Nashville singers. Since then, he has recorded a number of albums, and from those recordings there have been several local and international hits.
Martin has sung at numerous charity events. One event that was derived from his trips to promote Cayman was Cayman Night in Port Arthur, Texas, where local acts flew stateside to an appreciative U.S. audience. He is also the recipient of the Cayman Islands Certificate and Queen’s Badge of Honour.
His star in the region has not dimmed over the years. At a recent performance in the Bay Islands, hundreds of teary-eyed ex-mariners could be seen singing along to every line of the melancholy sea shanty “Letter From the Sea.”