Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Martin S. Versus Martin S.

On Nov. 5th I had the privilege of seeing Martin Sexton perform for the third time. I met a girl who told me I was on the verge, that this concert might put me over the edge. She said she'd seen him perform a dozen or more times and that soon I'd be driving great distances just for a chance to hear him sing live. I have to admit that it's entirely possible. I love Martin Sexton. I love his songs, his voice, his creativity, his attitude.

I now own all his albums with the exception of a handful of live concert CDS. [Solo (2008), Seeds (2007), Camp Holiday (2005), Live Wide Open (2002), Wonder Bar (2000), The American (1998), Black Sheep (1996), In the Journey (1990)] That night, though, I heard a few songs I truly hadn't heard before. One of those was "Failure" from his Seeds album, which I already owned but the song hadn't really hit me until the concert. THAT is reason enough for going.

I already blogged about the surprise of finding an opening act I enjoyed so much. I've been listening to Ryan Montbleau's CD quite a bit this week. It was the background music for my book club meeting earlier this evening.

Sexton is coolness personified. And while I personally think that Willy Porter's guitar playing is superior, few can match Sexton's vocal abilities. I tend to agree with my pal, Nancy, who said if they would get together and perform or do some recording, she would probably spontaneously combust. My pics are more proof that I was there than anything else. But below are two Martin Sextons. Enjoy.

Masters of Guitar Series -- Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson performed yesterday at the Empire, my Tuesday off, and after a weird day of me "being blue" it was a nice treat. This was the final Masters of Guitar Series show until next Spring. He performed a real range of songs from traditional Scottish ballads to Joan Baez and Dylan to Randy Newman to "Killing the Blues" by Roly Salley, and even some that sounded like the deep South. I guess his time living in the French Quarter of New Orleans rubbed off.

One of the songs I loved best was one he wrote for his dad--"Never Any Good." He said his father was born in 1899 and he got married at 52 and had Martin at 54. Now, years and years later Martin Simpson is 55 and has a three year old. Go figure. Simpson also painted some fun pictures of life as a youngster in 1965 learning guitar. That's an era that I would love to slip through time to observe.

I also learned about a new guitar trick from this concert. He used a tool called an Ebow. This isn't a new thing, certainly, but for me it was. It's a tool that uses a magnetic force or energy to move the string and so it resonates and can provide a wonderful sound. I enjoyed this concert and had I not just been to see Martin Sexton, I'd say Mr. Simpson would have fared better. So it goes.

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