Martin Sexton excited to return to Syracuse for hometown concert with ‘2020 Vision’ –

This provided photo by Joanna Chattman shows singer-songwriter Martin Sexton.
Syracuse native Martin Sexton is returning home with “2020 Vision.”
The singer-songwriter will perform at the Westcott Theater on Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m., music starts at 8 with opening act Mikey Powell.
The soulful Sexton was born and raised in Syracuse, shouting out The Gem Diner on his 1996 song “Diner.” He moved to Boston in his early 20s and got his start busking around Harvard in the early ‘90s, but is always excited to be back in the Salt City.
“Generally, when I’m touring I don’t have a lot of time to see what there it is to see, but I always make time in the hometown for a stop at the Little Gem Diner and the Harrison Bakery for the world’s best half-moon cookie,” he told | The Post-Standard in a phone interview.
Sexton recently released a new EP, “2020 Vision,” which is inspired by the events of last year, including the Covid-19 pandemic that shut down live touring for the most part. He played a socially distant drive-in concert at the Fingerlakes Drive-In last fall, and recorded the new songs remotely for the first time in his decades-long career.
“Technically speaking, the way we made the record is not live in the studio. I laid down my guitar and vocal tracks in a Massachusetts studio and then sent them out to the producer and then he added his magic on to it,” Sexton said.
Other musicians also contributed from afar, including a bluesy guitar dub from John Mayer on “Calling On America.”
“That’s so cool, man,” he said after hearing Mayer’s addition to the tune, inspired by Sexton’s experiences traveling across America in 2020.
Martin Sexton's latest EP is called "2020 Vision."
“I would meet people who wanted to be helpful and people who were sharing and kind. And then I would turn the TV on and I would see the opposite of that,” he recalled. “It speaks to my experience traveling through America at that troubled time. So much hatred and discord, so I wanted to put a little hope” into his music.
“I always want to do more with my art. I want to be entertaining but I also want to use my position as a singer to bring something into the world, something good,” he explained. “Not just entertain folks. Maybe evoke an emotion and remind us that we’re all human and we’re all brothers and sisters at the time.”
Another song on the record, “Hold On,” was based on his experiences at home during the shutdown. It finally gave him time to build a treehouse at his Massachusetts home with his youngest son, Shane.
“So it took us half the summer to build this sweet little hang up in the pine tree and this song kind of presented itself to me,” Sexton said. The first verse and the chorus came to him while he was driving around, and he had to keep singing it over and over again so he wouldn’t forget the melody until he got home and could record it on his iPhone.
Sexton, who also a son named David and two daughters, Devon and Brianna, said he’ll get inspiration for his songs from pretty much anywhere. On the road or up in the Adirondacks, he’ll often listen to the classics like the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix on SiriusXM satellite radio, but a lot of times he’ll listen to nothing at all.
“I tend to enjoy the sounds of wheels hitting the road,” he said. “It’s kind of hypnotic in a way, almost therapeutic… I do my best thinking (in silence). Sometimes no music is the best kind of music.”
“2020 Vision,” produced by three-time Grammy nominee John Alagia, is Sexton’s latest in a career with more than 10 albums, including 2015′s “Mixtape of the Open Road” and 1996′s “Black Sheep”; songs featured on TV shows like “Scrubs” and “Parenthood”; and famous fans like actress Kristen Bell and news anchor Brian Williams.
What: Martin Sexton concert
Where: Westcott Theater, Syracuse. N.Y.
When: Saturday, Oct. 16; doors open at 7 p.m., music starts at 8
Tickets: $40
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