Martin Sexton: Fall Like Rain, Martin Sexton’s latest offering, as EP, finds this artist
again asking relevant questions and challenging the status quo. Entertaining us all
the while, he continues to call for unity in “One Voice Together” and adds: “In a
world of warfare, peace is bad for business . . .” A timely cover of Buffalo
Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” reminds us it’s time to “stop, hey, what’s that
sound, everybody look what’s going down.” On this record, the artist subtly and
seamlessly blends infectious tunes with a powerful message.
His “soul-marinated voice” (Rolling Stone) shimmers on the soaring falsetto on the
title track: “I wanna feel, I wanna fall like rain, without the shelter, so I can see
which way the wind is blowin’ today.”
Why an EP? Sexton says, “These songs are relevant today and I didn’t want to wait
to release a full-length album. And in a down economy, we’re getting new music to
people for the price of a soy latte.”
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., and the tenth of 12 children, Martin Sexton grew up in
the ’80s. Uninterested in the music of the day, he fueled his dreams with the
timeless sounds of classic rock ’n’ roll. As he discovered the dusty old vinyl left in the
basement by one his big brothers, his musical fire was lit. Sexton eventually
migrated to Boston, where he began to build a following singing on the streets of
Harvard Square, gradually working his way through the scene. His 1992 collection of
self-produced demo recordings, In the Journey, was recorded on an old 8-track in a
friend’s attic. He managed to sell 20,000 copies out of his guitar case.
From 1996 to 2002 Sexton released Black Sheep, The American, Wonder Bar and
Live Wide Open. The activity and worldwide touring behind these records laid the
foundation for the career he enjoys today with an uncommonly loyal fan base; he
sells out venues from New York’s Nokia Theatre to L.A.’s House of Blues, and tours
regularly across Canada and Europe.
Happily and fiercely independent, Martin Sexton launched his own label, KTR, in
2002. Since then he has infiltrated many musical worlds, performing at concerts
ranging from pop (collaborating with John Mayer) to the Jam scene to classic rock
(collaborating with Peter Frampton); from the Newport Folk Fest to Bonnaroo to New
Orleans Jazz Fest to a performance at Carnegie Hall.
Regardless of his reputation as a musician’s musician, Sexton can’t keep Hollywood
away. His songs can be heard in many feature films and television including NBC’s
Scrubs, Parenthood and Showtime’s hit series Brotherhood.
Stage, film and television aside, when Sexton isn’t touring he often mixes
entertainment with his sense of social responsibility, performing at benefits for Paul
Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camp, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Japan
earthquake/tsunami relief (The John Lennon Tribute), and Hurricane Irene relief
efforts in Vermont, to name some.
In 2007 Sexton began his most successful years to date with the release of his
studio offering Seeds. The album debuted at #6 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart,
and the Los Angeles Times said, “Call him a soul shouter, a road poet, a folkie or a
rocker and you wouldn’t be wrong.”
The live CD/DVD set Solo, which includes a DVD of his performance at Denver’s Mile
High Festival, followed in 2008.
In 2010 the album Sugarcoating found this one-of-a-kind-troubadour doing what he
does best: locating larger truths. After hearing it, NBC anchor Brian Williams sought
Martin out to sit down for an interview backstage at New York’s Beacon Theatre. It’s
now featured on MSNBC’s BriTunes.
The accolades continue. Billboard called Sexton’s version of “Working Class Hero” for
the Lennon tribute/benefit in 2010 “chill-inspiring.” Released this November as part
of The 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute album, the track is available on iTunes.
The New York Times noted that this artist “jumps beyond standard fare on the
strength of his voice, a blue-eyed soul man’s supple instrument,” adding, “his
unpretentious heartiness helps him focus on every soul singer’s goal: to amplify the
sound of the ordinary heart.”
Billboard called Sexton “The real thing, people, a star with potential to permanently
affect the musical landscape and keep us entertained for years to come.”