Just back from my first Martin Sexton show. I've been a Sexton fan since first hearing his music on WXPN in Philly in the late 90s, but always with a little bit of reluctance, because I'd also heard an interview with him on WXPN in which I thought he sounded like he might be an insufferably self-satisfied and conceited prat. Didn't stop me playing his discs, though.
But now I can say, having seen him live, that he's bloody entitled, if that's really what he's like, which of course it's probably not. Amazing. He's got a phenomenal voice, of course, and he's an excellent songwriter. He also plays with his voice in surprising and fun ways, setting up a second mike to create eerie and beautiful and wild feedback effects, and producing enough rich and layered sound with a single guitar to put most four-piece groups to shame. And finally, he projects a joy and abandon in performing that is absolutely infectious and irresistible, and which only a few other musicians of my experience can manage. He's an extremely generous & giving performer.
Plus he's a bit of a slob, which is endearing, and his fan base seems to consist largely of twenty-something males who I find very familiar; they all seem like they're in grad school. I think this speaks well of him.
But mainly: it was an amazing show, capped by a long, jammy series of covers, including A Day in the Life (Beatles) and Mercedes Benz (Joplin) and various Pink Floyd and Peter Frampton clips, among other things.
Go see him, all you residents of Las Vegas, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Petaluma, Eugene, Bellingham, Tacoma, Dallas, Austin, Helotes, Tulsa, Louisville, Birmingham, Greensboro, Norfolk, and Northhampton out there. You won't regret it.