LIVE: Jeff Martin loves Australia

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FOR almost 20 years Jeff Martin has felt a connection with Australia.

It began fronting Canadian band The Tea Party, whose brand of Eastern-flavoured rock first found an audience in Australia during the early ’90s, leading them to eventually complete 12 tours of the country.

He now calls Byron Bay home, writing, recording and producing in his own studio and raising a  son.

‘‘For me, being here is about a lifestyle. It’s a very positive lifestyle here and something I definitely needed in my life,’’ Martin said.

‘‘I think the band’s [The Tea Party] connection with Australia would be a case of, I think the rock audience here – especially because of the education in the ’90s that Triple J gave rock audiences – it was very wide and accepting.

‘‘And let’s face it, The Tea Party’s music is pretty wide.’’

Six months ago, Martin toured Australia with The Tea Party on a national run of dates.

It marked the band’s first shows in the country since splitting seven years earlier after Martin left the group due to ‘‘creative differences’’ and embarked on a solo career.

 He released his debut album in 2006 and another record with band The Armada in 2008, followed by a third as Jeff Martin 777 in 2011.

Martin, 43, is playing a final run of intimate solo shows for the year before he reunites with The Tea Party’s Stuart Chatwood (bass) and Jeff Burrows (drums) to record their first album of new material since 2004’s Seven Circles.

‘‘As much as I loved touring with The Tea Party and how big and grandiose it is, I really miss the intimacy of these very small shows,’’ Martin said.

‘‘The Tea Party is a big, monster rock machine and this is kind of much gentler.’’

 Martin has toured with other musicians but will be  on his own this time.

‘‘I’m road-testing a bit of new material and also some new sounds as well. I’m kind of going towards eventually like a one-man Pink Floyd,’’ he laughed.

‘‘Leave it to me to make things as complicated as possible.’’

Once the tour wraps up in WA just before Christmas, Martin will begin writing the next album for The Tea Party.

Jeff Martin performs at Lizotte’s Newcastle on Monday night. Bookings online at lizottes.com.au

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