Black Sheepby Martin Sexton
Martin Sexton's acoustic singer/songwriter routine is just one of many flavors here; along with Motown-style R&B, sweeping pop ballads, gypsy fiddling, blues, and jazz, there's even a little rapping. The genre jumping works surprisingly well. Producer Crit Harmon sequences the switches with sensitivity and class, and gives the set a consistent sound -- warm, spontaneous, grounded in acoustics, deeply soulful. Vocally, Sexton handles the stylistic gymnastics with extravagant ease. He'll belt out a tune with all the velvet bombast of Wonder, retreat to a Billie Holiday warble, ascend to an Aaron Neville falsetto, then swagger his way home like Ray Charles or Johnny Popper. There is, however, a cost for his expanded palette: originality. Such soulful singing is rarely set against a sparse folk background (which is often associated with off-key eccentrics like Bob Dylan and Neil Young). As his band imitates the soul masters who influenced his vocals, his act seems less fresh, and stands against somewhat stiffer vocal competition. Sexton has told interviewers that folk music tends to speak only to his head ("like a thick novel"), while simpler pop music hits him in the gut. His songwriting seems to reflect that he edges away from the urban poetry of his Bostonian peers but toward plain old pop, and it's not bad -- his lyrics previously seemed a little overreaching -- but it does make some of the songs on Black Sheep a little less interesting than the ones on his 1991 demo tape, In the Journey. All of the diversity, though, does make the solo acoustic moments all the more gratifying, spotlighting not only Sexton's sensational singing but also his warm, bass-heavy, rhythmically slick acoustic guitar playing.
- Release Date:
- Kitchen Table
Performance CreditsMartin Sexton Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Shaker
Billy Novick Clarinet
Johann Andreas Amon Violin
Ned Claflin Background Vocals
Sa Davis Percussion
Joe Donnelly Percussion,Drums
Patty Griffin Background Vocals
Brad Hatfield Synthesizer,Piano
Greg Holt Bass
Harry King Piano,Hammond Organ
John Troy Bass
Sherma Andrews Background Vocals
Crit Harmon Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Technical CreditsBilly Novick Arranger
Carl Beatty Engineer
Ned Claflin Composer,Liner Notes
Martin Sexton Composer,Sound Effects
Kathy Chapman Graphic Design,Cover Photo
Crit Harmon Producer,Engineer,overdub engineer
Jennifer Tobin Contributor
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I was introduced to Martin (well, his music) when he was still relatively unknown. I was immediately struck at the uniqueness of his sound and style. It's a fantastic mix of soul, blues, rock and maybe a little jazz with some folk on top. Every song, on every album, can be listened to over and over again. Clearly, I just can't say enough about him. And the live shows are mind-blowing. Just try one song and you'll see...
Martin Sexton is fanatastic. I bought this disc at his show 2 years ago when he opened for Susan Werner in Princeton. It has been my most listened to disc from that day on . This album has so many different feels to it , each song stands alone . I have never heard someone with his vocal range and never seen someone play with his soul. Buy this album for everyone you know and if you need to sell your car to go see him do not hesitate . It may seem a little much , maybe it is , but at least get the cd.
This could easily be the best album in anyone's collection, Sexton is incredible in concert, and has lots of new materials, but this is the album that really started things for him. Goes from slow and soulful to fast and fun, this album is everywhere.
''Can't stop thinking 'bout you,'' Martin. This is the kind of music you actually WANT to stay in your head all day long. Take it to work, share it with a friend. They'll thank you for it!