Songwriter Spotlight- Craig J. Martin


Hit songwriter Craig J. Martin

Being a songwriter in Nashville has its ups and downs, especially first starting out trying to get your first cut to get your career started.  All of the hours spent writing, pitching, networking, and getting told some of your best songs aren’t good enough to make the grade in town can certainly get you down on your luck, but all it takes is one song and one person to believe in it, and the rest is history. For Craig J. Martin, the song that he was told wasn’t good enough started more than his career, but one of the most world-renowned country artists in history, Tim McGraw.

Born in Marshall County, West Virginia, Martin began his musical interest very young through one of his parents.

“I got into music through my dad when I was 8 years old…” Martin says, “…and when I was 15, I got a band together and played all around West Virginia, and all around the Northeast. Pretty much we played anywhere we could.”

The decision for Martin was an easy one to move to Nashville after spending a few years as a correction officer in West Virginia after his high school days.  Of course, the decision to pursue what you have always wanted to do is simple, but first arriving in a new town always puts some doubt in your mind, but Martin quickly overcame that.

“When I first moved to Nashville, I didn’t know a soul. I pulled into town with only five hundred dollars, but I was ready to make things happen. “ And things did happen quickly for Craig, penning a deal with Mercury Records. Things would take off for Martin, but it’s a funny story how it all came about.

“When we were picking songs for my first record, all the songs we considered I didn’t even have a part of writing-wise.  I wanted to be apart of all the songs, but it just wasn’t working out that way.  I pulled out the song “Don’t Take The Girl” and played it for everyone, and it didn’t get a good reception. No one was into it, so we just left it out, but I thought it was one of the best songs I’ve written.” Martin continues, “So after that, knew about Tim McGraw and took the song to him and he loved it, and put it on his record. When it was released as a single and became his first number one hit, everything was good to go from there. It was crazy how everything came together.”

After that, Martin continued to pen songs and hits for many other artists, like writing the songs “What Will You Do With M-E”, “My Dyin’ Day”, both recorded by the Western Flyers.

Craig is now working on multiple projects that really showcase his musical and songwriting talents.  He is currently working with upcoming artist Geoff Buell. He already has 6 songs on Buell’s new record, and it seems like the perfect pairing between artist and songwriter.

When describing his approach to songwriting these days, Martin says, “Right now, I realize that you can’t push songs out that aren’t meant to be at the particular time you’re writing.  If I’m writing a song that I’m not feeling, then I simply don’t continue with it. You can’t force those songs out and expect them to be any good. Having that mindset has really evolved my writing.”

Martin also is in the first stages of releasing a brand new record of all the major hits that he has written and some new ones, but in the unplugged and acoustic fashion.  “I like the stripped down feeling of those kinds of records, and that’s what I eventually want to do for my next personal project,” Craig says.

You can find Craig J. Martin’s music on

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By Kyle Wilkerson |

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