Singer/songwriter Martin Sexton blends passion similar to Bruce Springsteen with the raucous excitement of Jeff Buckley and the abrasive wordplay of Jackson Browne and Living Colour's Corey Glover. On his sophomore effort, 2000's Wonder Bar, the Boston-bred falsetto cues up his thick, gruff vocals for a soul-slicker that is quite genuine. Again, Sexton plays with genre-specific hums of roots rock, folk, country, blues, and R&B, and the initial sound on Wonder Bar is solid. The 11-track song list soars with humorous emotions; songs such as "Hallelujah" and "Things You Do to Me" showcase such free-spirited rock & roll. Sexton, however, is a love sucker. Like his crooning counterparts (Ryan Adams, David Gray), Sexton plays into the heart of things, reaching for the deepest mystery and sweetest piece. Songs such as "Elephant's Memory" and "She Cries and Sings" reveal his once broken heart and the mending process. Part of Sexton's appeal is his natural blending of moods and Wonder Bar shines throughout many shades of feeling. It's unpretentious and the album's namesake indicates Sexton's appreciation for the simple things; most of the record's songs were written in a pizza parlor of the same name in Worcester, MA. It's as basic as that, for Sexton is one earnest individual and Wonder Bar illustrates his playful use of traditional sides of American music.
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AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson