The Martins are a Christian music vocal trio composed of three siblings: Joyce Martin Sanders, Jonathan Martin, and Judy Martin Hess.
Originally from Hamburg, Arkansas, near the Louisiana border in Ashley County, the vocalists grew up firmly and proudly planted in the Southern gospel tradition, so it is not surprising that, as they have matured, a broad range of influences have entered their musical mix. Billboard magazine describes The Martins as "breaking down walls and blurring the lines that separate Southern gospel from inspirational, adult contemporary, and other popular Christian music formats." Rather than resting in a single niche among the numerous Christian music genres, the Martins have rummaged freely through a stack of style books, grabbing whatever interests them. Sometimes the different elements are unaltered and traditional, but more often they are tossed into the trio's musical blender so that a new mixture emerges. The result has been labeled simply as Martin Music. Their portfolio of songs includes every musical palate, ranging from innovative and refashioned hymn arrangements to contemporary songs of praise and worship. While their eclectic style draws from a variety of musical genres, the Martins are often framed and presented as a cultural phenomenon rooted in the rural U.S. south, specifically in Arkansas.
The Martins' "big break" came in 1992 when Michael English and Mark Lowry insisted that Gloria Gaither listen to the group audition in the women's restroom prior to a Gaither Homecoming video recording in Indiana. Gloria told Bill that he had to let them sing in the video. They have gone on to appear in over two dozen Homecoming videos. The group has also recorded over a dozen albums.
In 2002, Jonathan left the group in order to spend more time with his family. Joyce and Judy then enlisted the help of Paul Lancaster, formerly with Mullins & Co., and The Nelons. Together they recorded Above It All. Between 2003 and 2010, they were somewhat inactive as a group in order to spend more time with their own families, although they did reunite for concerts periodically. During this time, the three each recorded a solo album.
They often appear on the Gaither Homecoming concert tours, as well as in limited trio appearances.
Joyce Martin Sanders lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband Paul, and she has two children.
Jonathan Martin lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, and their six children, including twin boys, one of which has cerebral palsy.
Judy Martin Hess lives in Columbus, Georgia with her husband Jake Hess Jr. and their four children.
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