Having played with the likes of the late Doug Sahm, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roky Erickson & Joe Ely, San Antonio native Will Sexton has returned to the solo spotlight after more than a decade.
Now Memphis-based Will joins New Orleans vets The Iguanas & distills 10 solid roots-brewed tunes on Don’t Walk The Darkness (Big Legal Mess Records – drops March 6).
Produced by Bruce Watson the LP is Sexton’s reconnection to music & performing after suffering a stroke in 2009. Sexton has lost none of his hard-swinging home-brewed storytelling & playing. Among the new potent savvy songs from his new repertoire is “Temptation’s Call,” a sax (Art Edmaiston) heavy bottom keeps a signifying Dave & Phil Alvin type highway charm choogling’.
“Witness,” is in an exceptional Texas Tornadoes’ Flaco Jimenez-Doug Sahm Tex-Mex mix. Warm, sincere & romantic. Lovely stuff.
Mindful of other artists of renown is not a comparison as much as a complementary reference. Will Sexton (guitar, vocals) does not imitate. He emulates a style highly respected in musical circles & defines his own. The fact that many of these musicians have passed makes Will Sexton an artist to embrace & admire. He still has magic in his fingers & voice.
“Don’t Take It From Me,” (written in 2001 but never recorded) – has alchemy. It’s one of the last songs Will wrote with the late legendary outlaw-country singer Waylon Jennings.
In the early 90s, Will was a staff writer & wrote the never recorded “Only Forever.” It has an upbeat soulful melodic tint similar to the late Eddie Rabbitt (“Drivin My Life Away”). Lots of commercial credibility & a little retro that personifies this as a potential hit. Texas guitarist legend Will Sexton seems to have many songs of this caliber on his LP — appropriate & commercially-oriented enough to be attractive to singers who don’t write. Despite the slight retro tinge, Will has lots of good meticulous melodies, topics relatable & contemporary for today.
An infectious blues shuffle dominates “What My Baby Don’t Know,” & damn if Elvis Presley were only alive today I’d pitch this song to him myself. It has blues drive, with country-rockabilly urgency. The guitar break possesses a hot Blasters-Robert Gordon dynamic. Exceptional.
Rock is dead? Well, you didn’t look here.
While not quite as bruised & arresting as Steve Earle, Mr. Sexton nonetheless has the necessary unfiltered Texas-vocal magic. He expertly steps back into an ambitious Doug Sahm-John Hiatt coordinate to expose well-disciplined medium rockers like “Don’t Mess With My Mind.”
Beautiful sax work embodies “Fell In Straight View,” Sexton offers a poignant vocal & the tone of the sax with the ethereal lead guitars is moving. Lots of winning moments throughout this LP. Also featured: The Barnes Brothers (vocalists), & soul diva Susan Marshall (vocals).
The 33-minute CD is available at http://willsexton.com/