Singer-Songwriter Martin Sexton Charts His Own Musical (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Singer-Songwriter Martin Sexton Charts His Own Musical Path

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
We end our show today by turning to music, specifically the music of this guy.

MR. MARTIN SEXTON

00:00:07
Songs for me are like monkey bars. I like to play on them every night, sort of differently and it keeps it fresh for me and hopefully for the audience, as well.

SHEIR

00:00:17
That's singer-songwriter Martin Sexton, who credits Bob Marley and Charlie Brown, yes, that Charlie Brown, as his inspirations. Sexton is coming to D.C. for a show this weekend. And our very own Bryan Russo recently caught up with the musician to talk about his musical past and future.

MR. BRYAN RUSSO

00:00:34
Singer-songwriters are everywhere. Go into any bar, coffee shop, train station and almost anywhere on the Internet, and you are bound to run into one. But next time you meet a singer-songwriter ask him if he's ever heard of Martin Sexton and then brace yourself for a ton of high praise. Here's why…

MR. BRYAN RUSSO

00:01:00
John Mayer once called Martin Sexton the best live performer he's ever seen and one of the most treasured songwriters in the world. Critics rave about him and they always start with his voice.

MR. BRYAN RUSSO

00:01:18
In an era when a lot of new music is made without actual instruments, Sexton uses his voice and one guitar and makes them sound like a full band.

MR. BRYAN RUSSO

00:01:36
Sexton says he found his sound back in the early '90s when he was just an unknown singer-songwriter playing on the streets of Boston.

SEXTON

00:01:44
There was always this necessity of a hole, where I needed to fill something, you know, because one guy and a guitar can get boring really fast.

RUSSO

00:01:52
So he would scat a solo or beat box.

RUSSO

00:01:54
You know, or I'd start banging on my guitar like a drum set, you know, or play it like a bass.

RUSSO

00:02:01
He says scatting may have been the hardest skill to master.

SEXTON

00:02:03
I first heard scatting and first mimicked the scat that I heard on a record, it was Bob Marley. It was (singing) we're gonna chase them crazy bald heads out of town (makes noise), you know. And I tried doing that and of course I was like (makes noise), you know, and it just sounded stupid.

RUSSO

00:02:31
But as anyone who's ever seen him live can attest, he got the hang of it.

RUSSO

00:02:47
And there are other vocal tools in Sexton's arsenal, inspired by things you might not expect, like cartoons.

SEXTON

00:02:53
Charlie Brown always had the teacher, you know, (makes noise), you know and I was like, wow, that's a muted trumpet with, like, a plunger, you know, and so in my shows you'll see like (makes noise).

RUSSO

00:03:11
But Sexton's fans will tell you he's much more than vocal acrobatics or guitar tricks. He's praised as a heck of a songwriter. One tune, called "Sugarcoating," a critique of the media's coverage of 9/11, caught the ear of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who fell in love with the song, even though it essentially called out, well, people like him.

RUSSO

00:03:40
Sexton's live shows are like intimate sing-alongs with a thousand people from all walks of life. He says it's like going to church every night.

SEXTON

00:03:47
Some accountant from Wall Street side-to-side with some maybe guy who just got out of a tent down occupying Wall Street, and they're singing harmony with each other.

SEXTON

00:04:08
This is like God has entered the room when this happens. And this is the power of music. And this is what I feel so honored to be a part of, is to be able to deliver that every night.

SEXTON

00:04:18
Martin Sexton will be in D.C. this Saturday at the 9:30 Club in support of two new records, an EP called "Fall Like Rain," and a live record titled "Live at the Fillmore." He says the 9:30 Club is one of his favorite venues in the world to play and he holds his legions of D.C. fans in similar acclaim.

SEXTON

00:04:36
They're smart and they're intellectual and they're soulful and they seem to love good music. So I just give it all I got whenever I show up.

RUSSO

00:04:46
And don't be at all surprised if many of the passionate fans singing along with Martin Sexton on Saturday night are also singer-songwriters. I'm Bryan Russo.

SHEIR

00:04:58
To hear more of Martin Sexton's music, head to our website, metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

00:05:42
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Jacob Fenston, Emily Berman, Sabri Ben-Achour, Jonathan Wilson and Bryan Russo, along with reporter Sarah Ventre. WAMU's managing editor of news is Meymo Lyons. Metro Connection's managing producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our editorial assistant. Our intern is Rachael Schuster. Lauren Landau, Rachel Schuster and John Hines produce Door-to-Door, which will be back next week. Thanks, as always, to the WAMU engineering and digital media teams for their help with production and the "Metro Connection" website.

SHEIR

00:06:13
Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts" and our Door-to-Door theme, "No Girl" are from the album Title Tracks by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. You can see all the music we use on our website, that's metroconnection.org. Just click on a story and you'll find information about its accompanying song. Also on metroconnection.org you can find our Twitter and Facebook links. You can read free transcripts of stories. And if you missed part of today's show you can hear the whole thing by clicking the This Week On Metro Connection link.

SHEIR

00:06:42
To hear our most recent episodes, click the podcast link or find us on iTunes. We hope you can join us next week when we'll head out in the cold. Well, metaphorically, at least, given our rather balmy temperatures of late. But anyhow, we'll visit a one-of-a-kind ski slope to see whether you can still make a buck off winter sports in our region. We'll sample the cuisine of Iceland, for the latest in our Eating in the Embassy Series. And we'll meet the woman who runs the show at D.C.'s new Canal Park Ice Skating Rink.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1

00:07:11
I drive a Hyundai in real life, which only cost me a couple of thousand, but for my day job I get to drive $140,000 Zamboni, bright red, bright red.

SHEIR

00:07:23
I'm Rebecca Sheir and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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