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Solo (Live)

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Album Review

Solo is the second live album in eight years from singer/songwriter Martin Sexton, and in keeping with Sexton's "less is more" performing style (and as the title would suggest), 15 of the 17 tunes here feature just his voice and guitar. Of course, Sexton has been performing as a solo act (or with just a drummer) long enough that he's become very comfortable as a one-man band, and Solo manages to sound rich and intimate at the same time. Using scatting or whistling to fill up the spaces his guitar leaves empty and mimicking instrumental solos with his voice, Sexton's solo performances lack the hollow sound of some acts when they take the stage with just an acoustic guitar for company, and he can generate a potent, funky rhythm with his six-string work — "Happy" is that rare unplugged solo track you could dance to if you were so inclined. But Solo's best moments also speak of the direct connection between one musician and his audience, and these recordings (culled from tapes of six different shows) preserve not just the sound but the ineffable feel of the man on-stage. Sexton is a savvy showman on Solo, pulling out some unexpected covers (tackling Prince, the Beatles, and Ray Charles among others) along with a stack of his better original compositions, and just as he knows how to work the crowd on-stage, Solo gives his loyal fans a top-notch re-creation of his solo concerts they can relive in their living room. As a bonus, the album also includes two extra tracks with a full band, and a bonus DVD with Sexton playing a 50-minute solo set at a festival in Colorado; this is bound to delight Sexton loyalists and might even convert a few doubters.


Born: March 02, 1966 in Syracuse, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Martin Sexton was one of the most talked-about arrivals on the "new folk" acoustic music scene. The guitarist, singer, and songwriter has an amazing vocal range and makes effective use of it on his recordings and in his live shows. Unlike so many other contemporary singer/songwriters, his vocal style can be described as truly soulful, combining the best qualities of singers like Van Morrison, Al Green, Aaron Neville, and Otis Redding. Sexton, a self-taught guitarist and singer, was raised in a family...
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Solo (Live), Martin Sexton
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