Bobby Martin


To have known him is to have loved him. After a brief illness, Bobby passed away in April 2016.

Bobby Martin grew up surrounded by music with old-time country/bluegrass roots. As a child he roamed from fiddler's convention to fiddler's convention enjoying the music and watching his dad, Sam Martin perform.

When one thinks "bluegrass", most think of mandolins, guitars, fiddles, acoustic bass, dulcimers, and banjos, as does Bobby. Though he plays the mandolin, guitar, and fiddle, his passion has always been drums. His keen sense of rhythm is quickly unveiled to those who play with him. Bobby walked into various jams and campsites of the world's best known bluegrass players with brushes in his back pocket and pulled up a wooden chair to sweep out rhythms many have come to know and enjoy. His Cherokee heritage is reflected in the images custom painted on his drum by long time friend and bluegrass great Tut Taylor.

In 1987, after working for a seismographic company out West, he returned to his North Carolina bluegrass roots, playing off-and-on with various bands. It was stepping into a tent in which the Kruger Brothers were doing a workshop after their first MerleFest appearance “that changed my life. I was simply fascinated with them." Bobby maintained a close musical association with Wilkesboro, NC based Kruger Brothers, originally from Switzerland, and traveled extensively domestically and abroad performing with them.

Bobby's love for music was obvious even he paid the bills for years as an nuclear power plant electrician by trade.

The cajon became his primary instrument for bluegrass. Of Peruvian origins, serves as the player's chair, and Bobby played with brushes and hands and described the rhythm he uses for much of the bluegrass-styled material as a "that train thing". It caught the attention of Rex McGee as he joined in a late night session including Danny Knicely, John Garris, Nate Leath and Dennis Lee in 2012. Although nobody really knew it then, at that point Kripplekrunk had been founded.

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