A native of Syracuse, New York, Martin Sexton grew up on the timeless sounds of ‘70s radio, from Stevie Wonder to Led Zeppelin (who led him toward blues legends like Howlin Wolf and Willie Dixon). Sexton eventually migrated to Boston, where he began to build his following singing on the streets of Harvard Square and gradually working his way into the club scene. His 1992 collection of self-produced demo recordings, IN THE JOURNEY, was recorded on a old 8-track in a friend’s attic. He managed to sell 20,000 copies out of his guitar case busking. Sexton recalls, “All those one-dollar bills I saved to make that record was the best eight-hundred bucks I ever spent.” His captivating performances led to a bounty of Boston Music Awards and the National Academy of Songwriters "Artist of the Year" award.
1996 saw Sexton release his first full-fledged studio recording, BLACK SHEEP, which remains an active favorite among fans. While the acclaimed Atlantic debut, 1998s THE AMERICAN, was produced by Danny Kortchmar, on the next record Martin opted to take the reins himself and produce. WONDER BAR (2000), the highly-anticipated second Atlantic release, Sexton was able to fashion an extraordinary collection of songs, reconstructing the spirited sound and unpretentious attitude of that classic ‘70s FM radio for a new generation.
Hailed by Billboard as "the finest new male singer/songwriter of recent memory," as well as "a vocalist of amazing proficiency and sensual conviction." The Boston based troubadour on WONDER BAR was accompanied by two of rock’s most valuable players bassist Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) and keyboardist David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen, Sting). This and all Sexton’s records distill soul, gospel, R&B, country and blues… in short, the American musical landscape into archetypal rock n roll.
While Sexton enjoyed an uncommon artistic freedom and the backing a major label can provide, he was still left wondering if that large corporate machinery was necessary. Sexton asked Atlantic to be released from his contract and now…
Happily and fiercely independent, Martin Sexton launched his own label Kitchen Table Records (2002) with his first live double-cd set, LIVE WIDE OPEN. Mixed by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer), this record captures the energy of the artist connecting with the crowd, highlighting the joy, skill, and inspiration of any Martin Sexton musical performance.
Renowned as a die-hard road warrior, Sexton has traveled the globe with his guitar slung on his back and a heart full of soul. His songs are intricate and spirited… His fans range from teenage students to jocks to musicians, from the East Village to Wall Street, tradesmen to doctors, black, white, young and old, all singing together in three-part harmony. To see the crowd at a Martin Sexton concert is to witness a cross-section of America. People claim Sexton’s songs inspire them to change, quit their job, go cross-country, follow their dreams, or whatever... To this Sexton replies, “Walking down 7th Avenue I saw an old black man banging on a five-gallon bucket and singing some African chant. I was in a hurry to get where I was going, but had to stop, not because of the music, but because of his face. It was glowing, pouring out, overflowing with the most profound joy I had ever seen. This changed my life. Music has that power.”
Acoustic Guitar Magazine raved about Sexton’s remarkable visceral live shows, calling the singer a "master of dynamics, reducing a room to silence with his blustering baritone, then teasing that silence with a fluttering falsetto." Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that the singer/songwriter "jumps beyond standard fare on the strength of his voice, a blue-eyed soul man’s supple instrument," adding that "his unpretentious heartiness helps him focus on every soul singer’s goal: to amplify the sound of the ordinary heart."
Sexton tours in support of his seventh record, SEEDS, releasing April 2007, from the Nokia Theatre (NYC) to The Fillmore (San Francisco) and all points in between.
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