20th Century Theater
January 18, 2008
Martin Sexton’s live performances are the stuff of legend. Displaying a rare multi-octave range in his voice, the folk soul singer often performs alone with his guitar as he did at Cincinnati, Ohio’s 20th Century Theater on January 18.
Sexton started the standing room only show with "Freedom of the Road" from his 1996 recording, Black Sheep, and material from that release dominated the setlist, with a rare selection from 2007’s Seeds compilation thrown in for good measure. Bopping to his own internal rhythm, Sexton’s infectious rapport connected with the 20th Century’s denizens, and soon the entire facility was singing with one voice on "Happy" from Seeds.
Continuing along the same vein, Sexton gathered together his new Queen City family to serenade him with the title track from Black Sheep. "Bye Bye Black Sheep" was repeated in a stunning mantra that followed the singer/songwriter offstage before a brief pause.
When he returned, Sexton flirted with flamenco chords on his acoustic guitar as he fired up the intro to "Gypsy Woman." Crowd favorite "Diner" followed with a long laundry list of mouth watering confections and descriptions of the many greasy spoons along the road of any performer’s itinerary. It was a riveting moment, and Sexton soon found there was only one way to top it. He sent the crowd into the chilly winter evening with a warm embracing cover of "America the Beautiful."