Martin Sexton

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Joshua
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Postby Joshua » Tue Mar 26, 2002 9:04 pm

Heads up - Martin Sexton is making a trip through the area, playing Calvin College in GR on the 11th, The Ark in Ann Arbor on the 12th, and the Park West in Chicago on the 13th.

For those unfamiliar, Sexton plays a fantastic array of folk/rock/soul and has one of the best performing voices I've ever heard. His albums have each gotten progressively more produced sounding and rock-ish, to their detriment, in my opinion. In the Journey and Black Sheep are both incredible albums, and it appears from his tour photos that his performances are very stripped-down (largely solo?). I saw him at Calvin College about five years ago and it was the best solo performance I've ever seen.

So, if you're visiting this site and you're not doing anything the night he rolls into your town, you're doing something now.

Jake
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Postby Jake » Wed Mar 27, 2002 10:51 am

Name a song or two that you would recommend downloading to see what he's all about... I've never heard him.

Joshua
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Postby Joshua » Wed Mar 27, 2002 1:03 pm

I'd be hard pressed to narrow it down to a song or two, but if I had to, I'd recommend "Candy" from Black Sheep and the title track from In the Journey. Those songs alone wouldn't come close to representing the variety of styles he plays or his vocal versatility, though, so in case you come across them, here are some more highlights:

From Black Sheep:
"Glory Bound" (probably his "signature" song)
"Freedom of the Road"

From The American:
"Animal Song"
"Diggin Me"
(Both are good examples of stylistic variety)

And my very favorite song of his just might be "The Way I Am." I like the In the Journey version more than the The American version.

That might be overkill, but that's just what happens when I get started talking about him. I'm very excited to see him again.

Joshua
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Postby Joshua » Tue Apr 16, 2002 5:13 pm

I saw the show at The Ark on the 12th (the 10:00 performance)… What follows is the attempt of someone not qualified to write for GloNo to write something that GloNo readers must know. Reader beware.

As mentioned above, I was excited to see Martin Sexton. It has been at least 5 years since I last saw him perform, and in that time he’s met with a level of much-deserved success that, for better or worse, was having an impact on the sound of his music. When I learned that his current tour is unfettered by the complexities of a full backup band, I became even more excited. Nothing I could have hoped for would have matched the performance we were treated to last Friday, though.

I’m embarrassed to admit that this was my first visit to Ann Arbor’s much-loved venue The Ark. I’ll definitely be seeing more shows there, though – it was a wonderful environment that acoustically doesn’t have a bad (or even mediocre) seat in the joint.

By Sexton’s third song, it was clear that this would be unlike any performance I’d ever seen. Backing Martin (or ‘Marty’ as the crowd seemed so inclined to call him throughout the show) was Joe Bonadio on drums, who provided both power and texture between hard-hitting rock songs and multilayered percussion parts on lighter ones. Joe stepped offstage for a number of tunes as well, allowing Sexton to carry the show with his songs and stories. There were a handful of points during the show that genuinely brought tears to my eyes.

I’ll spare a lengthy attempt at describing the music or his voice - as it is I’m predisposed to hyperbole and overzealous conceit. The following day, my friend Chris and I were waxing poetic at length to fellow OG Mixmaster Shecky, who had to break in after a while and say, “You guys are really overselling this. At this point I’m expecting God with a guitar.” Suffice to say that everyone in the room had a great time and enjoyed a truly world-class performance.

The good news for all of you sorry saps who missed out (mostly due to a good cause in GR), is that Martin Sexton’s newest album, Live Wide Open, is a recording of shows on a tour just like the one he’s on now. Some tracks were even recorded at The Ark. So while you’ll miss out on the finer points of Martin’s voice resonating with every person and object in a room, you’ll hear the meaningful songwriting and the amazing versatility of his voice.

If I had to point out one thing that fell short of my expectations for the show, it was that he didn’t do half the storytelling that he did the last time I saw him. There was some, and it was interesting, but I guess you can only tell the same story so many times before you start to hate your life or something… Not a major complaint, but for the sake of sounding like a reasonable human being, there it is.

I implore the GloNo crew to check out Live Wide Open and post something about it. I don’t have the background in folk music that would make me a worthwhile album reviewer, but it’s exactly the kind of thing that this site was created to check out. (Not because it's folk, but because it's pretty niche and really, really good.)

His tour isn’t over, though – check out his web site and if he’s going to be in your area, definitely check him out. You couldn’t possibly regret it.

Mixmaster Shecky
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Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:37 pm

Well, now that I've had a chance to listen to 'Live Wide Open' I'm pretty geeked about seeing him live. He isn't quite God with a guitar, maybe more like Sartre with a guitar (and a sense of humor). But he's great - no question there. Well worth the listen!


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