The genre jumping works surprisingly well. Producer Crit Harmon sequences the switches with sensitivity and class, and gives the set a consistent sound -- warm, spontaneous, grounded in acoustics, deeply soulful. Vocally, Sexton handles the stylistic gymnastics with extravagant ease. He'll belt out a tune with all the velvet bombast of Wonderretreat to a Billie Holiday warble, ascend to an After Consent - Long Walk Home - Youism Neville falsetto, then swagger his way home like Ray Charles or Johnny Popper.
There is, however, a cost for his expanded palette: originality. Such soulful singing is rarely set against a sparse folk background which is often associated Gypsy Woman - Martin Sexton - Black Sheep off-key eccentrics like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. As his band imitates the soul masters who influenced his vocals, his act seems less fresh, and stands against somewhat stiffer vocal competition. Sexton has told interviewers that folk music tends to speak only to his head "like a thick novel"while simpler pop music hits him in the gut.
His songwriting seems to reflect that he edges away from the urban poetry of his Bostonian peers but toward plain old pop, and it's not bad -- his lyrics previously seemed a little overreaching -- but it does make some of the songs on Black Sheep a little less interesting than Gypsy Woman - Martin Sexton - Black Sheep ones on his demo tape, In the Journey.
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Human - Of Monsters And Men - Beneath The Skin, La Chenille - Various - Les Rythmes De La Fête, Sorcerer - Ataraxia - The Unexplained, Il Fait Beau,Il Fait Bon - Le Grand Orchestre De Paul Mauriat - LAvventura