Martin Sexton was born in Syracuse, New York, the 10th of 12 children. He learned his musical chops as a street busker in Harvard Square. Since 1992 he has released nine albums. January 24 was the date of his latest release, the five song EP, Fall Like Rain.
Sexton is an excellent guitarist and songwriter, but those attributes pale in comparison to his multiple octave voice. His upper register vocals can hit notes that few singers can reach. His material has traveled in a number of directions including folk, pop, rock, blues, and gospel. Through it all he has fiercely maintained his independence, and in 2002 formed his own label in order to completely take charge of his career. He continues to tour relentlessly in North America and Europe.
His new EP is more musically focused than most of his previous work. The four tracks he co-wrote fall into the folk/rock category. They range from social commentary to songs of personal reflection. “One Voice Together” is a commentary about togetherness rather than divisiveness. “Burlington” is a personal musical travelogue across New England. “Happy Anniversary (Six Years)” and the title track contain clear, sharp, and precise lyrics as he takes the listener along on a part of his life’s journey.
The only track that travels in a different direction is his cover of the classic Buffalo Springfield tune, “For What It’s Worth.” It is a song made for Sexton and, as the album’s last track, I was expecting him to give a straight forward folk influenced interpretation. Instead he re-invents the song with a jazzy, almost scat-like vocal that immediately grabs your attention.
Martin Sexton has travelled under the radar for most of his career, despite producing a lot of excellent music along the way. Hopefully Fall Like Rain will bring him some notoriety and commercial success. If you are in the mood for some sophisticated lyrics and a wonderful voice, then this may be a release for you.