Friday Night Concert Clip: Martin Sexton


I’ve been a Martin Sexton fan for about a decade. Starting out as a busker in his native  Cambridge, Massachusetts, Martin learned early on how to play for and interact with crowds of any size and make it seem as though each was getting a private show.

First encountering him on NPR, I was captivated immediately by his magical vocal range, writing, improvisational abilities, humor and well, just about everything.  In the ensuing years, Sexton has released a string of disks filled with a virtuosity and creativity that surpasses many if not most  of his contemporaries.  The following clip fails to do him justice but I want to share it anyway, because if this is your first exposure to him, it should make you want more.

Martin Sexton is truly an independent artist. Having become disgruntled with his original contracts, he started his own label. Rich by no means, Sexton works when he wants to and makes enough to keep going. His is a true passion for what he does and it shows.

An artists artist, he often appears with or has guests like John Mayer and Keller Williams. He’s likely to show up anywhere, with most anyone (as long as they share his enthusiasm.

Martin is a crowd pleaser. His shows are intimate, featuring a lot of give and take from audience members. Call and response is common and his shows always seem spontaneous. Fans go expecting surprises.

It’s hard to find high-quality “produced” clips of Martin performing. Much more common are ones shot from the floor, with audience obscuring the view and sound that’s dicey at best but if you dig, you will be rewarded. And if you actually buy a Martin Sexton disk, you’ll be hooked. This is his appropriately titled “Happy.”

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7 Responses to Friday Night Concert Clip: Martin Sexton

  1. FalseFlag says:

    Nice, Paul! He’s like Jack Black with soul.

  2. Paul Sonderman says:

    I can see the Jack Black analogy given this clip. The clip makes him appear somewhat portly but he’s actually much leaner. And soulful, he is.

  3. FalseFlag says:

    He’s amazing, and quite refreshing. I like Jack Black so don’t start an argument. I meant it as a compliment.

  4. Twingles says:

    He really is one of the most incredible singer/songwriters out there! You can’t even begin to describe how wonderful he is playing his heart out in live performances. Check out this YouTube clip of his latest performance that I attended last weekend — this version of “Gypsy Woman” is incredible!

    It’s amazing Martin hasn’t gone mainstream yet with his level of talent and soul but I have to say I love seeing him in intimate venues so I’m not complaining. Check out his “Can’t Stop Thinking About You” duet with John Mayer on Mayercraft 2008 on YouTube for some real hairs standing out on your neck/goosebumps on your arms performance. The man is one of the best if not the best of this generation, no doubt!

  5. Twingles says:

    Here’s a good YouTube video of a performance I went to in Vermont where he did “My Faith is Gone” with incredible audience participation. Marty was on fire this night!

  6. Paul Sonderman says:

    I like Jack as well.

  7. Paul Sonderman says:

    I couldn’t agree more. He’s really in a class of his own, I know of no contemporary that combines his skills in the same way. Ray Montagne is another one of my favorites for some of the same and also very way different reasons. They’re dissimilar in many ways but share authenticity and passion that I feel is so lacking in the mass-marketed, “manufactured” music we’re force-fed. Good artists are out there, we just need to support then.

    Thanks for your thoughts and the terrific clips.

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