Martin Sexton will try out new material and put spins on older tunes when he stops by Grass Valley Sunday evening for a concert presented by the Center for the Arts as part of his winter 2014 tour.
Self-taught guitarist and singer, Sexton is known for channeling his love of soulful folk, blues, rock and pop music into accessible, emotional songs that recall the work of artists like Van Morrison and Otis Redding.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., and the 10th of 12 children, Martin Sexton grew up in the 1980s.
Uninterested in the music of the day, his musical fire was lit when he discovered his brother’s dusty old vinyl in the basement.
Sexton eventually migrated to Boston where he built a following while 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.
Among his early influences Sexton counts Stevie Wonder, Robert Plant, Mel Tormé, Bobby McFerrin and Harry Connick Jr.
“So starting off, I tended to sing in a technical way and make sure to sing in tune while having shape to what I was doing. And then as years go by, I pay less and less attention to being a technically proficient singer and more of an artist,” Sexton said.
Fiercely independent, Sexton launched his own label, KTR, in 2002. Since then he has performed diverse live shows, ranging from pop (collaborating with John Mayer) to the Jam scene to classic rock (collaborating with Peter Frampton).
He has performed at the Newport Folk Fest, Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest and Carnegie Hall.
Opening for Sexton will be Jay Nash, also an East Coast native and rock troubadour.
He has been blessed with a rustic voice rarely heard on record.
He emerged into the national spotlight from the same Los Angeles music scene that gave rise to Sara Bareilles, Katy Perry and many other current pop luminaries.
He has shared the stage with Counting Crows and Maroon 5, Keb Mo and Dave Mason.
Nash has performed over a thousand live shows and sold more than 35,000 albums without a conventional record label.
Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. Sunday show are $25 for members of the Center, $28 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at www.thecenterforthearts.org or at BriarPatch Co-op.
The concert will be at the Center’s main stage theater, 314 W. Main St. in Grass Valley.