When Jan Garrett and JD Martin come together musically, it all comes from the heart.
“When you really come from the heart, it makes a difference in how you go through your day,” Garrett said.
Those looking for a pick-me-up can find it at their upcoming concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center, 195 W. Main St. in Cedaredge. David Starr will join the group on stage for some of the songs. Gretchen McGeeney, of Grand Junction, will provide harmony vocals.
Even though they now perform together, both Garrett and Martin have had successful individual careers.
Garrett grew up in Loveland in a musical family. During school she trained in classical singing and piano, but also performed with a group outside of school. After high school she started playing music professionally. She attended college at Colorado University and continued to perform with one particular group in places that included ski areas.
She moved to Aspen and became involved with the eclectic band, Liberty. They were the opening act for John Denver and Steve Martin when he was doing stand-up. Garrett even toured the Soviet Union with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Garrett returned and started a family. That is when she did more song-writing, including songs for children, among other ventures.
Martin grew up in Virginia in a religious household. His father was a Mennonite minister and in this tradition, everyone sings acapella in church. He started writing songs in college and was in various bands including one in Aspen called Tanglefoot. He moved to Nashville and then to Las Angeles and worked as “staff writer” writing songs.
The two met in 1995, and as Garrett said, the sparks flew. Their romantic relationship soon morphed into a musical relationship as well. The two have been writing together for about 24 years.
For a few years, the two had a long distance relationship and in 1997 Garrett moved to L.A. The duo then connected with a spiritual center, Agape International Spiritual Center. They describe it as an eclectic, multi-racial, multi-traditional spiritual center with people from all walks of life and spiritual paths. Garrett said it is very inspirational and it asks you to go into the world and make a difference.
Martin and Garrett were part of the music team there and they would be recorded and those recordings were shared all around the world. By the time they moved back to Colorado in 2001, they had connections all over the county. Soon Martin and Garrett started traveling, recording and teaching.
“We feel like our music is rich and intelligent, a velvet-hammer wake-up call as pleasing to the soul as it to the ear,” Garrett said. “Basically what we do is heart music. Coming from the heart and aimed toward the heart. Because of so much background we both have had before we came together, we feel like it’s really good music. It’s really solid musically.”
The multi award-winning singer songwriters from Basalt have written and recorded eight albums together. The duo performs different styles and genres of music, whatever is needed to fit the meaning of the song they are performing. This is also reflected in their albums. Martin said there is a mix of styles, but there is a thread or feeling that holds all the songs together on each album.
It is all uplifting, universal music that is meant to touch everyone, Garrett said. They use their art to make a difference in the world.
The duo’s most requested song is “I Dreamed of Rain.” The song was written when fires tore through the Western U.S. a few years back. The song has been made into a choral arrangement by someone in Canada and has been performed in a variety of ways around the world. Recently, it was sung in Australia when the country was battling fires.
Their latest album, “Better Angels,” was released last February. Looking at what is happening in the world — climate crisis, unspeakable heartbreaking tragedies, toxic polarization, political insanity — Garrett and Martin, from their point of view, said it’s easy to get freaked out over all these things or get depressed and feel like one has no say or control. They wanted to do something to make a difference and bring people together that would transcend ideologies. With this album they were looking to reach a wide, universal audience. They decided to write this album and go out and perform these songs.
“In this new album, the songs can be played and heard by anybody no matter if they consider themselves spiritual or not,” Martin said.
Garrett explained that sometimes a song has a life of its own and you never know who it will touch. Martin said having their music touch others feels really good. They draw inspiration by putting a thought or feeling out in the world and receiving inspiration back. Martin said sometimes it can also be less smooth than that for him.
Garrett and Martin have not played in Cedaredge before, but said they are excited to perform there. They have known Starr for many years, and had high praise for him.
“When you come to a concert, it’s not the same old thing over and over. We really go through a large variety of musical genres,” Garrett said.
The audience can experience great music, and heart-touching, good harmony, Martin said. Their music is meant to help connect to who you really are, show up in the world and make a difference, Garrett said.