Friday, May 11, 2012

Eateries and Watering Holes: Diner

Martin Sexton: Diner

I have to believe that most of us who write or read music blogs like this have a list of favorites who never succeeded to the level that we believe they deserve. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few—all of whom have had some commercial success, but in my mind, should have more: Richard Thompson, The Roches, Alejandro Escovedo and the subject of this quick post, Martin Sexton, to name just a few. I’ve already posted about Thompson and The Roches, so I guess Escovedo has to get his turn at some point.

Let’s get it right out there—I think that Martin Sexton is an incredible songwriter, an amazing guitarist and frighteningly talented singer. He is one of the best live performers I have ever seen. And yet, despite that, and rave critical reviews from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Billboard and others, it seems like Sexton will never be a huge star. He was getting close to stardom when he released two albums, The American and Wonder Bar on a major label in 1998 and 2000, but his next release was a holiday CD on his own label, 5 years later, followed by sporadic independent releases, all of which have been worth listening to, but which have had limited impact. Of course, it is possible that Sexton is happy with the way his career has gone, and I hope so.

“Diner” is from his first full release, Black Sheep, from 1996, and it is a hoot—a tribute to those diners that look like train cars, and serve up delicious, hearty food to travelers all over the country. Even if you haven’t been to the exact diners that Sexton describes, you know exactly what he is talking about.

And he sings so fast.

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