Martin Sexton comes to Breckenridge in support of new ‘Mixtape’ album
If you go
What: Martin Sexton, touring in support of his new album, “Mixtape of the Open Road”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19
Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge
Cost: Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 the day of the show
Martin Sexton’s newest album, “Mixtape of the Open Road,” dropped in February, and since then he has been touring the country, sharing tracks reminiscing about love, freedom of expression and, of course, exploring the open road with fans from Illinois and Wisconsin to Mississippi and Alabama, California to New York.
Sexton will make a stop at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge on Thursday, March 19, to bring his new music, and likely some old favorites, to Summit County. We caught up with Sexton to learn a bit more about the new album and what makes Rocky Mountain audiences special.
SUMMIT DAILY NEWS: Tell me about your new album, “Mixtape of the Open Road.” The sound is pretty varied, from melodic acoustic to more rhythm-driven guitar. Is there a common thread that ties together these songs or a story that carries through? Does the mix of styles reflect your own musical journey or experiences on the road?
MARTIN SEXTON: “Mixtape of the Open Road” is exactly that — a collection of songs that would otherwise not be on the same album, strung together with the common theme of my voice and narrative. The mix of styles does somewhat reflect my own journey through music from a folky acoustic solo track to a bombastic acid-rock trip.
SDN: Is there a single song on the album or line or two of lyrics that are particularly close to your heart, maybe one that ran round and round in your head just begging to be put onto paper? Or a message that you felt compelled to convey through song?
MS: That message of “Shut Up and Sing” had been lingering in my mind for years ever since the Dixie Chicks — during the Iraqi invasion — caught flack for speaking out against their government. As I remember, they were told to shut up and sing. Although I believe in speaking your mind and heart, this song is about not saying it but singing it.
SDN: When you sit down to record an album, do you typically begin with an idea or theme? How does the process start and how does it generally evolve, or is it different every single time? What about the creative process for “Mixtape” was familiar and what was different from the seven studio albums that preceded it, and what about this particular process would you seek to repeat in the future?
MS: These songs were born and grew up into their own personalities, like children, each one different from the next. It became clear early on in the recording process that they weren’T all going to get along in the same classroom. Hence, the “Mixtape” was born. It’s really not too different from my previous processes of making records, as most of them range. With “Mixtape,” I just made it even more so.
SDN: Most of us can recall a favorite mixtape from our past, maybe gifted from a friend or significant other, one we played over and over until the tape broke or the guts all fell out. Thinking back to some of your favorite mixtapes from the cassette era, what are some of the tracks or sequences of songs that stand out the most to you? What made them memorable, and did any of that music inspire your current work?
MS: My friend as a teenager made me a classic mix of Hendrix, Beatles, Stones, Zep, etc. I remember wearing it out. We actually released “Mixtape” on cassette in addition to CD and vinyl for that nostalgic, tactile experience.
SDN: You’ve spoken many times about the grassroots effort behind spreading your music and growing your fan base, rather than relying on big record labels and corporate cash. Why has it been important for you to avoid the corporate spectacle? How do you think that impacts the authenticity of a songwriter’s message?
MS: As an independent artist, I am beholden to no one. I can say what I want, when I want, and don’t have to deal with the corporate politics that run rampant in that industry of cool — the music business.
SDN: What are some of your favorite memories of crisscrossing the Colorado mountains on past tours? Why do you think audiences here might relate to your music and, especially, your new album?
MS: Well, I think people in the Rocky Mountains — even more so than everywhere else — appreciate real, honest art that does more than simply entertain and may even, at times, evoke and inspire.
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