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Event Review: Martin Sexton With Keller Williams
The Orpheum, Boston - December 3, 2004
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
2004-12-06
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Before St. Martin could address his adopted hometown congregation at one of Boston's most sacred venues, low end plucker Keller Williams did his best impression and, in the process, got the choir boys (and girls) jumpin' on his Phish-y hooks. Keller's cover of "St. Stephen" got the crowd testifying and, uh, illuminating. And from the low riding "Cadillac" to the nimbly creeping "Ninja of Love," Williams mixed crowded arpeggios and room-rocking hippie chant-alongs, putting together an impressive combination of solo songs and live multi-trackings, with the help of a quiver of guitars and a stack of effects.

Martin Sexton, on the other hand, came to the stage with only two mics, one guitar, and his four-octave range. Even so, it was more than enough to bring the crowd from awed silence to eruptive ovations. With his warm hush and angelic falsettos filling every crevice of the ancient hall, Sexton ran through his entire repertoire, from his early days in the subway tunnels to his current status as a songwriting superstar. From the spiritual "Hallelujah" to the scatty date ditty "Diggin' Me," Sexton offered every sort of music and mood, from mouth-horned Jazz and blue-eyed Soul to Middle Eastern mouthings and Zep-ish Rock.

While "Glory Bound" ( Glory Bound ) continues to be the best song ever written at a kitchen table, it was only one of the many highlights of this fan friendly set. The soaring paternal prayer "Freedom of the Road" and the growling beat-boxed "Beast in Me" invited everyone into Sexton's psyche, and the duet with Williams of "Young and Beautiful" was simply both. After segueing sensibly from his own "In the Journey" to an improved version of U2's "I Still haven't Found What I'm Looking For," Sexton came to the front of the stage with a revival-esque rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" that set the congregants and the converted dancing back out into the world.

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