Martin Sexton has heard all the descriptions. The singer and songwriter from Syracuse has been called a road poet, folkie, troubadour and rock ’n’ roller.
“You know, man, I’m a soul singer,” Sexton said earlier this week in a telephone interview. “I kind of take from the deep well of American music. It all fits, it’s all in the sauce.”
The 48-year-old Sexton brings his brand of sauce to The Egg at the Empire State Plaza in Albany on Friday..
Sexton has been on the road and on the stage for more than 20 years. He has released 10 albums, the last one 2012’s extended play “Fall Like Rain.” He’s grateful for work that has taken him from the Fillmore in San Francisco to the House of Blues in Los Angeles to Carnegie Hall in New York City.
“The shelf life of a musician is generally not that long,” he said. “So I feel honored to have a career. I’ve got a career, it’s not a flash in the pan, like 15 years ago I had this big hit and now I’m on VH1’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ ”
WHERE: The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
HOW MUCH: $34.50
MORE INFO: 473-1845, www.theegg.org
Sexton takes his success one guitar, one stage and one audience at a time.
“For me, it’s a joyous thing. I sing my songs and I mean it,” he said.
“The audience usually participates. We’ll have 400 people at the theater in Albany and I’m going to get all the credit, like ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe all this sound came out of one guy.’ Meanwhile, they’re not giving themselves the credit. There are 400 people singing harmony, it’s kind of like I get this bonus, having a huge choir and sometimes even a rhythm section with people clapping and stomping. It’s wonderful and I get all the credit.”
Sexton is proud of the connections he has made with people who appreciate his musical takes on life.
“It seems to be a strong connection,” he said. “The folks who are at my shows are rarely first-timers. So often they’re on their 12th or 20th or 30th show, for which I’m really honored, that people would come back and bring their family and friends. They’re not just lightly humming along.”
It’s nice when people make personal connections to his compositions.
“Kind of what I’m hearing through folks is, their daughter walked down the aisle to my song,” he said.
“Or I was in Michigan a couple weeks ago and this couple told me their son was born to my ‘Black Sheep’ record. So what kind of connection do I have with the audience? I think it would be fair to say it’s a deep connection. They’re invested, they’ve listened to the records over the years and they’re not just waiting for that one hit they heard in the elevator or on their way to work three years ago.”
Sexton has been writing. Family topics are on his mind these days.
“They’re about my 5-year-old son, maybe his perspective on me leaving for tour and going away for a couple of months, but I’ll be back,” he said. “Stuff like that, human stuff that hopefully people can relate to.”
When Sexton isn’t on the road during the summer, he’s spending time in the Adirondacks. He has a place in Saranac Lake. Some songwriters would find inspiration in the woods and by the water. Sexton likes the atmosphere — but his muse works second shift.
“I have to write at night up there because it is too beautiful,” he said. “I can’t have loons howling and sunshine and birds chirping and kids playing. Maybe nowadays we call it attention deficit, but I need darkness and rainy days to write decently. Or just a good set of curtains.”
Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at [email protected]