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Martin Sexton, Oct. 30, KFCH


In order to enhance its beefy flavor, a good ribeye steak needs nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and a few cranks from the peppermill. Such is the deft musical styling of Martin Sexton, who is currently touring unembellished, simply man and guitar. He's a natural musician, singing and playing from the heart, using an appealing blend of blues, gospel, country, R&B and soul to weave his poignant tales.

Sexton is not shy about singing of his struggles with and eventual release from the grasp of alcoholism and finding redemption from God. His gifts for tune and storytelling can convey a sense of mature contentment with his place in life or wrench a heart as he tells about women he's known. In a musical age when vain posturing and crass attitudes reduce many acts to noisy rubble, Sexton stands out with a core of genuine humility wrapped in a stocky, masculine package that ain't ashamed to belt it out. His skillful strumming and sincere warmth in concert enable him to connect with his audience in a way that moves beyond the realm of cheerfully bobbing heads and into the stratosphere of sending ripples of gooseflesh across a mesmerized listener's skin. Like mouth-watering beef, you'll want to savor every note and nuance.

Thursday, Oct. 30, with Ryan Montbleu and Marcus Eaton Trio, 8 p.m., $20 adv., Knitting Factory, 416 S. Ninth St., 208-367-1212,