Joey Martin, 15, Growing Into Role As Teen Guitar Hero

One minute is all it took for Joey Martin to get comfortable onstage.

As he began playing a five-minute guitar solo at Westfield's by the Railroad Saturday night, he looked a little nervous, but after only 60 seconds, he slowly picked his foot up, placed it on top of his amp, leaned his head forward allowing his hair to fall down over his eyes and grinned ever so slightly. Although he had the crowd's attention from the beginning, it seemed to click in his mind after only a minute.

Thus is the life of musician, though. So why should you be impressed? For the same reason Joey's English teacher, DeeAine Watson, was in attendance: Joey is only 15 years old, and is just as talented as the twentysomethings with whom he shared the stage.

"When you can grab them and find out where they are, it's phenomenal," Watson said. "Kids teach me more every day than I'll ever be able to teach them."

A few months back, Watson was worried about Joey. Like any good teacher, she phoned his father, informed him of the situation and asked if he might know what was going on. Joey's father, Joe Martin, told Watson that Joey's life is (and probably always will be) centered on music.

Instead of simply telling Mr. Martin to make his son spend more time studying and less time with music, Watson went beyond the call of duty. She enlisted the help of her husband, a police officer who also dabbles in guitar and owns a Pignose amp. Watson brought the small amp, Joey brought his guitar, and the entire class was treated to a short concert as part of a class presentation.

"Music is a common language," said Watson, who has since seen an improvement in Joey's grades, class participation and morale. "He's a whole different child now."

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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever