Charlie Sexton

Friday, May 23, at Bend Studio

When a 16-year-old Charlie Sexton released his debut, Pictures for Pleasure, way back in 1985, most predicted that the singer-songwriter was on his way to major stardom.

Tall and handsome, Sexton parlayed his early acclaim into a cameo appearance in the hit film Thelma and Louise. But, oddly, Sexton's striking good looks may have been a curse—management consistently malformed him into a new wave wunderkind as fans in his hometown of Austin howled as Sexton's legendary guitar chops and bluesy upbringing were cast aside in favor of thudding disco beats and inappropriate production sheen. Needless to say, it didn't work and Sexton spent nearly a decade trying to regain his mojo.

In 1992, Sexton formed the Arc Angels with Doyle Bramhall and, although the results were still overwrought and overhyped, it was good to hear Sexton somewhat in his element. In 1995, Sexton got around to releasing another solo effort, Under the Wishing Tree, and fans finally got the opportunity to say, "This is what we were talking about." Boldly channeling his early influences of blues and country into his Dylan-esque songwriting style, Sexton showed the dramatic flair and instrumental dexterity that had previously been muted. 2005's Cruel and Gentle Things continued Sexton's re-emergence as a pre-eminent purveyor of roots music that rocks.

 
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