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Martin Sexton 

Saturday, November 10, at the Grog Shop.

Unlike other artists, who complain about kissing ass for radio play and lacking label support to push their latest release, Martin Sexton remains content to simply be plying his artistic trade. To Sexton, the music he creates isn't so much a result of his songwriting as it is a channeling of communication that originates from outside his being: He just happens to be in the right place at the right time to "catch" whatever his creative muse offers him.

What he's caught so far is the aspiration to develop something that touches listeners -- and himself -- on a deeper level. He's out to create "soul music" in a time when disposable product is the norm. This doesn't make him an easy sell to record executives, who deal with demographic-based strategies and dumbed-down melodies for a quick buck. So Sexton remains a cult figure while slowly expanding his fan base with lyrics that tastefully map the human condition, vocals that cover a wide range -- think Otis Redding morphing into Robert Plant -- and a musical style that encompasses rock, blues, soul, folk, Tin Pan Alley, and gospel. All are exhibited on Sexton's Atlantic debut, The American, an intimate musical portrait of his travels throughout the country. His current effort, Wonder Bar, is aimed to mimic in tone -- not rigid style -- the FM radio of his 1970s youth, where the Beatles and Led Zeppelin rested next to Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Zappa. It's fitting company indeed.

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