Martin Sexton


Martin Sexton blows the whistle on our wars with his new album Sugarcoating

:: Martin Sexton ::
:: w/ Ryan Montbleau Band ::
::  Ogden Theatre :: May 20 ::

By Hap Fry

The literature Martin Sexton would sneak up to his room as an adolescent growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., was a little different than the standard fare most of his peers would say goodnight to.

“You know, some kids my age were sneaking Penthouse up to their bedroom, and I was sneaking the Sears catalogue up to bed,” Sexton said during a recent phone interview with The Marquee from his western Massachusetts home. “I would look at it with a flashlight and just dream as I would peruse through the guitar section — just dreaming about the one day when I would have one.”

Sexton got his first guitar — a nylon string classical Kent guitar — at 13, and he’s been playing ever since.

“I didn’t really take lessons,” Sexton said. “I just kind of learned how to play off records and then started playing in rock bands. It was great. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and what I’ve done since.”

Today, Sexton is an accomplished folk singer who will play Bonnaroo and open up for the Dave Mathews Band this summer. Right now, though, Sexton is in the midst of a 32-show tour that includes a stop in Denver at the Ogden Theatre this month.

“I pretty much know North America like the back of my hand,” Sexton said. “It’s just refreshing to me. I have not grown tired of being on the road. I love waking up in a different town.”

The timing of this tour could not be better. He released his ninth album, Sugarcoating, earlier this year and fans can expect a fair amount of songs off the 13-song album to be played at each show. “I feel like I’m on the threshold looking forward,” Sexton said. “I always love releasing a record and then touring behind it. I love being at this end of the cycle as opposed to the other end where you have to start writing again.”

The manner in which Sexton recorded the album was a throwback of sorts. He and the players he brought in needed just two weeks to hammer out the album from his recording studio, the Kitchen Table. “I’ve heard about bands that take two years to make a record, and we made it in two weeks,” he said. “I get the songs written, and we go in there and hash them out and boom, there you go. It’s kind of old school.”

In addition to old school recording, Sexton also brings a very old school activist and political whistle blowing attitude to this latest collection of songs. Sexton applies his take of 9/11 on the album’s title track, “Sugarcoating,” that surely will draw some buzz from people. “I view 9/11 as an attack orchestrated by rogue elements within our government and the corporate power structure that runs our government as a means to motivate the American public into going into various wars that we’re still in today,” Sexton said. “That’s a pretty heavy subject to put into a pop song. But I can’t just put my head in the sand and sing about falling in love.

“I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t sing about what I’m feeling. And right now, what I’m feeling is that we as people need to see the likeness in one another more than we do. I need to see the likeness in my neighbor because we’re really all the same. If we see the likeness in one another, we’re going to be more unified, and we’re going to be harder to mess with,” Sexton said.

His goal for “Sugarcoating” isn’t necessarily to incite a revolution, but Sexton wouldn’t mind a little more demonstration and resistance from the American people.

“I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone put up a real fuss about the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan,” Sexton said. “It’s like here we have our own Vietnam, but nobody is out in the streets. No one is carrying signs or singing songs. It just seems that we’re so entertained with sports, movies, porn, the internet and iPods. We’re just so — I don’t know — unaware. I’m trying to just do my part, and if everyone did, the war would change.”

:: Martin Sexton ::

:: w/ Ryan Montbleau Band ::

:: Ogden Theatre :: May 20 ::

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