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Just call him ‘the Banjo Therapist’

Andy Martin, left, sits with Mike Van Brackle in this photo from the Facebook page of the duo's band, the Highback Rockers.

Andy Martin, left, sits with Mike Van Brackle in this photo from the Facebook page of the duo's band, the Highback Rockers.

ALBANY — The classroom nearly drove Andy Martin crazy. So what did he do?

He became a therapist.

Andy Martin wasn’t always Andy Martin LPC.

He once was a music teacher; a purveyor of musical knowledge whose love of music led him to mold eager, young minds.

“But that just wasn’t for me, let me say it that way,” Martin says. “I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do; so I put some thought into it and was like, “well, counseling isn’t really that far of a reach from I was doing.”

Martin had often found himself as the lay therapist to unruly pre-teens; hearing about parental matters; steering kids away from drugs and alcohol and just listening to the hormone-fueled issues of teens.

It was back to school for the trombone playing, banjo picking former music teacher and it wasn’t long before Martin hung a master’s degree in clinical/counseling psychology on his wall, right next to his diploma from Tift County High School and his music education undergrad papers from Florida State University.

“I knew I wanted to help people,” Martin said. “I mean, that’s why people get into psychology, right? To help people better cope with the struggles of life. And so that’s what I’m doing.”

Martin just recently moved into his new office inside the former federal courthouse in downtown Albany where he’s growing his client portfolio.

Specializing in drug and alcohol counseling, Martin also helps those with depression or anxiety combat their illnesses and work toward building a sense of normalcy in their lives.

While it’s been more than 12 years since Martin first fully ditched the teaching gig for psychology, he still keeps his chops honed and his fingers limber by playing with the Highback Rockers, a bluegrass, rock and folk band.

His love affair with music spans 30 years and carried him from the Southeast musical Mecca in Athens on tour across the country where he, as a part of various bands, shared billings with James Brown, Toby Keith, David Grisman and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Currently, Martin and Mike Van Brackle — also know as the Highback Rockers — play local venues bringing an eclectic mix of music — everything from Haggard to R.E.M. — to the masses.

Those interested in his more professionally-timbered day job, can learn more about Martin on his website, andymartinlpc.com or can be reached by phone at (229) 446-9008.