Martin Sexton Making the Most of his Mixtape

Syracuse native Martin Sexton has plied his craft for three decades now on the backs of highly lauded albums. His latest album, Mixtape Of The Open Road, is a collage of styles which all showcase a facet of his adventuresome approach. Long Island Pulse caught up with Sexton regarding the album and actual mixtapes.

Long Island Pulse: What might have been the biggest challenge about making Mixtape Of The Open Road?
Martin Sexton: Originally I wanted to make it a thing like a bluegrass thing or a country thing. Of course I couldn’t decide which one to do because the songs are like kids–one’s a football star, one’s a brainiac, the other one’s pumping gas, the other is just sitting on the couch playing Nintendo. So I figured I would step on the gas in this direction and make it be like a mixtape that my friends used to make for me.

Pulse: Do you have a hard time letting go of a song?
Sexton: Oh that’s a good question. Sometimes they just pop right out and it’s like bam, a few little nips and tucks and it’s done. And other times it’s labor, it’s this English project. Usually when songs are more laborious it’s harder to let them go when you have to chisel at them.

Pulse: Do you have a preference between collaborating or writing solo?
Sexton: I like them both. I think I write more when I write with other people. Just to have that person in the room with you, I could sit down and write a couple songs in a day. I enjoy collaborating and I also enjoy being alone in my cabin in the Adirondacks with a candle burning and my old Gibson and a pen and pad.

Pulse: The songs from Mixtape, have some of them surprised you in concert?
Sexton: I really enjoy singing the song for my mom called “Virginia.” I actually like the way I do it live better than the track on the record. It’s a real simple ode to my mom and it’s easy and fun to sing.

Pulse: Did you make a lot of mixtapes yourself growing up?
Sexton: I made a few but I got a lot of them. I got them whether it was someone I was dating or a friend. That’s what I like about mixtapes: they can entertain you, inspire you, they can warm you. And that’s what I tried to do with this record, make it like that mixtape that friend made for you after you graduated or had a broken heart or quit your job and hopped in the van.

Pulse: You also are selling cassettes of the album?
Sexton: We just did it on a hoot, we printed up a few hundred of them originally. But the surprising thing is we sell a couple every night. I’m tickled by that so we had to reprint them. I guess everyone still has that 1990 Honda somewhere that has a cassette player or they have a boom box in the attic.