Road poet Martin Sexton brings his many musical styles to the Vilar, Feb. 3 | VailDaily.com

Road poet Martin Sexton brings his many musical styles to the Vilar, Feb. 3

Martin Sexton brings his many musical styles to the Vilar for a Friday night show.

Martin Sexton is a human mixtape.

Apple music's accounting types apparently thinks music needs to be categorized, so they categorized Sexton as "folk/rock."

Yeah that, and little Led Zeppelin, throw in a little Jimi Hendrix, some Rolling Stones, and you have some idea what Friday's show will be like at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

Sexton's latest album is "Mixtape of the Open Road," a one-man compilation of different styles of music, a tribute mashup of 12 tracks for the nine artists. You remember mix tapes.

"When your girlfriend made you a mix tape, it was for something like graduation or a broken heart," Sexton said.

He'll sing tunes from "Mixtape" and other records, but it's not really solo.

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"The audience is like my choir. They sing three-part harmony; they clap. I've been doing that every night, and it has been going over well," Sexton said.

He does different characters for different songs, and the songs range from country and folk to Zeppelin and Hendrix.

You'll hear a little Bob Wills in "Do It Daily," but the background singers and pickers are all Sexton.

"It's something I do," Sexton said. "It's the way I've always made records."

Grab the guitar and play

Sexton grew up in the 1980s, but wisely didn't pay much attention to '80s music.

He learned to play guitar while standing in front of a stereo spinning old vinyl records he found in the attic: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Hendrix.

Keith Richards was running around in his head when he was writing "Pine Away."

Sexton is the 10th of 12 kids, so he has plenty of material for songwriting. His father sang in church, and his sister Colleen sings and performs around New England.

Sexton eventually migrated to Boston, where he began to build a following singing on the streets of Harvard Square. His 1992 collection of self-produced demo recordings, "In the Journey," was recorded on an old 8-track in a friend's attic. He sold 20,000 copies out of his guitar case.

Over six years, 1996 to 2002, Sexton released four albums and toured the world.

He sold out venues from New York's Nokia Theatre to Los Angeles' House of Blues, and these days is a tireless road poet.

He did all that on his own label, KTR.

"The best live performer I've ever seen," said fellow musician John Mayer in a news release. "I may just quit my job and go follow Martin and make a fuss everywhere I go, just to make sure that people don't go their lives without hearing this man sing to them."

Sexton's career took off again in 2007 with "Seeds," a studio album that debuted at No. 6 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

"Call him a soul shouter, a road poet, a folkie or a rocker, and you wouldn't be wrong," the Los Angeles Times wrote.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If You Go …

What: Singer-songwriter Martin Sexton

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

Cost: $30.

More information: Buy tickets at the Vilar box office, by calling 970-845-8497 or online at http://www.vilarpac.org.