Critically acclaimed Sexton is a musicianʼs musician and prolific recording artist. His songs are intricate and spirited covering the American musical landscape distilling soul, gospel, R&B, country and blues.
His performances are dynamic and bursting with depth and have earned him a devoted following among fans, peers and critics alike. People claim that Sextonʼs songs inspire them to make a change, go cross-country, and follow their hearts; to see a crowd at a Martin Sexton concert is to witness a cross-section of America.
Martin Sexton was born in Syracuse, NY and first made his mark in the early 90ʼs by singing on the streets of Harvard Square and gradually working his way into the Boston club scene. His first album, In The Journey, was a collection of self-produced demo recordings that were recorded on an old 8-track in a friend's attic. Sexton managed to sell 20,000 copies out of his guitar case and 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 including "Best New Artist" as well as a National Academy of Songwriters "Artist of the Year" award.
In 1996 Sexton released Black Sheep, his first full-fledged studio recording which remains an active favorite among fans. Two years later, Sexton made his Atlantic Records debut with The American produced by Danny Kortchmar. Sextonʼs next release, Wonderbar in 2000, was self-produced and explored the spirited sound and unpretentious attitude of classic '70s FM radio for a new generation.
While Sexton enjoyed uncommon artistic freedom and the backing of a major label, he was left wondering if the large corporate machinery was necessary. Sexton asked Atlantic to be released from his contract and formed independent label Kitchen Table Records (KTR). His first release on KTR was 2002's Live Wide Open, a two-disc live disc set. Camp Holiday, a seasonal album of Christmas standards came next in 2005, then studio album Seeds in 2007. In 2008, Sexton released Solo, an original live collection that caught the attention of the Independent Music Awards and won for best Live Performance Album.
In April of 2010, Sexton headed back into the studio and seven days later emerged with Sugarcoating, an album that doesnʼt necessarily protest, but questions. "The last couple of years have been an awakening for me about how the world seems to work and not work," reflects Sexton. "You canʼt rely on mainstream media for the truth, Iʼve discovered that youʼve gotta dig if you want a real answer about whatʼs going on." He explains, "My music has always been more about inspiration and entertainment, but this time I felt the need to toss some awareness into the mix."
To Sexton, Sugarcoating is "a photo album filled with snapshots of my family and friends" with each song stylistically different from the next. "Iʼve always preferred records that range, sort of like The White Album from "Black Bird" to "Helter Skelter," he explains. "At one time industry types tried to convince me to stick one genre, but it was like wearing a suit that didnʼt fit."
Sexton recorded Sugarcoating with no rehearsals and no pre-production, using all vintage gear in the old Rounder studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The fellas and I gathered around the big kitchen table at the studio," recalls Sexton, "Iʼd play them the song, and then weʼd go in and start tracking. We nailed every one of them in four or five takes at most, and a couple are take ones. I like making records the old school way— they just showed up and worked it out."
Sugarcoating is an unquestionable pinnacle for this modern-day troubadour, but it by no means signifies a slowing point to Sextonʼs career. From headlining premiere venues like the Fillmore in San Francisco to the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, and overseeing his fiercely independent label, Sexton derives great satisfaction from ʻlivinʼ the lifeʼ heʼs sketched for himself. He is a compound of rarefied talent mixed with sheer determination or as Billboard describes him, Sexton is "the real thing, people, a star with potential to permanently affect the musical landscape and keep us entertained for years to come."
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