Independent music evangelist and renowned singer/songwriter Martin Sexton will grace the stage at three20south in Breck on Sunday. Continually praised by the likes of Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines, Sexton is on the road again in support of last year's critically acclaimed "Fall Like Rain" as well as his most recently released new live album from the Fillmore West in San Francisco: "Martin Sexton Live at The Fillmore." And while the 2012 short-length album (EP) "Fall" finds the singer challenging the status quo, he subtly blends the infectious tunes with timeless messages.
"I don't rely on big corporate dollars to get my music out there, nobody pays for my tour bus, nobody pays for my expenses. I pay for it. And my team spreads it around the world. And it works. It's a wonderful time to be independent. And an interesting time to be any kind of artist right now. I feel like we are in the 'new '60s.' I'm trying to be a champion of unity. I'm trying to bring people together," Sexton said recently during an online interview for Fret12.com. "I want to inspire people. I'm living my dreams. And I wonder what would happen to the world if everyone started living their dreams."
Billboard magazine described Sexton as "the real thing, a star with potential to permanently affect the musical landscape and keep us entertained for years to come."
"Fall Like Rain" was supported with another tour that passed through Colorado last fall. But if you missed him, now is your chance for redemption. The album is "still selling really well, it's still being played," according to publicist Julie Arkenstone. "He's been touring steadily."
So what makes a show in Summit County so special, for both performer and audience? "To begin with ... altitude, and it's always fun to be there," Sexton said. "There is a special energy that seems to only exist over 8,000 feet ... or maybe there's just something else in the air in these early days of post-prop 64."
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., and the 10th of 12 children, Sexton was a child of the '80s, and his music is fueled by the timeless sounds of classic rock 'n' roll. Sexton migrated to Boston where he built a following singing on the streets of Harvard Square, slowly working his way through the Boston music scene. His 1992 collection of self-produced demo recordings, "In The Journey," was recorded on an old 8-track in a friend's attic; and he managed to sell 20,000 copies out of his guitar case. Between 1996 and 2002 Sexton released the records "Black Sheep," "The American," "Wonder Bar" and "Live Wide Open" while touring globally and continuing to build an uncommonly loyal fan base, selling out venues from New York's Nokia Theatre to L.A.'s House of Blues. Sexton launched his own label KTR, in 2002. It's not uncommon to find him performing at events collaborating with John Mayer, to the jam band scene, to collaborating with Peter Frampton from Newport Folk Fest to Bonnaroo, and New Orleans Jazz Fest to Carnegie Hall, thus cementing his reputation as a musician's musician. His music can also be heard in many feature films and TV shows including NBC's "Scrubs," "Parenthood" and Showtime's hit series "Brotherhood." In 2007-2008, Sexton began his most successful commercial years with the release of his studio album, "Seeds," which debuted at No. 6 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.
On the heels of "Seeds," the cd/dvd set "Solo" was released in October 2008, intended to capture his acclaimed rocking live sets in small venues coast-to-coast. The record features an acoustic cover of "Purple Rain" and includes a dvd of his performance at Denver's Mile High Music Festival. The 2010 album "Sugarcoating" garnered Sexton even more critical acclaim, including an appearance with NBC's Brian Williams and a listing on MSNBC's BriTunes. Sexton's version of "Working Class Hero" was released in November as part of "The 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute" album; the track is available on iTunes. When Sexton isn't touring he can be found giving back at events including Paul Newman's Hole in The Wall Gang camp benefits, The Children's Tumor Foundation, John Lennon Tribute/Japan Earthquake benefit and the recent Hurricane Irene Victim benefit in Burlington, Vt., among others. The Boston Globe said, "Martin Sexton is ripe with raw, expansive talent. His voice comes in a hundred impossible shades. His songs are sweet and spirited and soulful. His repertoire is like a cross-country tour of the American musical vernacular."
He comes across as a timeless troubadour, one not in need of a big band or electronic effects, and he covers a huge range of tempos and styles, from yodeling to be-bopping and everything in between. Throughout all of his songs, the soulful falsetto and richly authentic lyrics and gestures of his live performances keep audiences coming back for more."