He started on the streets of Boston’s Harvard Square, singing and playing his guitar for donations from passerby. Martin Sexton is a self-taught musician who has risen from those days busking on urban sidewalks to wide, national recognition – and he’s gained a dedicated following in the process.
Though Sexton may not have reached the mainstream status of big names like U2, he’s played around the country, including big venues like New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Boston’s House of Blues, Denver’s Mile High Festival, Bonnaroo and Jam Cruise. His music has even made it into films and television, including NBC’s sitcom, “Scrubs.”
It’s no wonder. Though sometimes compared to Van Morrison and Steve Winwood, Sexton’s voice is soulful in a way that can be incomparable. He has an incredible vocal range and is adept at improvisation, often manipulating his voice like an instrument. His songs – a blend of rock, soul, jazz and blues, just to name a few – are captivating, emotional and raw.
“He puts on a great live show,” said Matt Karukin, owner of Breckenridge’s three20south, where Sexton plays a live solo show on Sunday, Feb. 24. “He’s got a very full sound for just being a solo guy.”
It’s true. Sexton has already sold out his Boulder eTown show, but you needn’t drive to the Front Range to experience this talented lyricist. At three20south, you can spend the evening within spitting distance of Sexton – close enough to see the sweat dripping down his face – for less than $25.
Three20south holds a maximum of 265 people – mostly standing room only. The venue’s small size makes any show there intimate. It’s something Karukin is proud of: big names like Sexton, Todd Park Mohr (of Big Head Todd), Donavon Frankenreiter, The Reverend Horton Heat and The Wailers – up-close-and-personal.
Three20south hosts live music seven days a week in the winter and Wednesdays through Saturdays in the summer.
“We pay attention to who’s coming through, who’s got some buzz or some history,” Karukin said of the acts he selects for his venue. “We try to keep our lineup very diverse. We try to offer a little bit of something for everyone.”
Indeed. Go to three20south’s website, and you’ll find a lineup of national and regional bands and musicians playing everything from rock to hip-hop to bluegrass to punk and more. And you can be assured you’ll always be close to the action.