BAR HARBOR — Boston-based singer-songwriter Martin Sexton promises to get the crowd singing in harmony at his Feb. 15 show at The Criterion Theatre.
“I’m going to take folks to church, we’re going to sing three-part harmonies, and we’re going to raise the roof,” Sexton told the Islander last week.
He’ll be performing solo, having recently wrapped up a tour with bassist Chris Anderson and string instrumentalist Boo Reiners. The three form the Martin Sexton Trio.
Sexton said he rarely uses a set list.
“I usually have an idea of the first songs I’m going to sing,” he said. “After that, the crowd yells out requests. It’s a cool, respectful participation, and they sing along, which is great.”
Sexton started his own label, Kitchen Table Records, in 2001. His last seven albums, including the album he’s touring to promote, “Mixtape of the Open Road,” were released on that label.
Sexton said during the creative process for “Mixtape,” which released in 2015, he had intended to make a single-genre concept album. The songs, however, didn’t fit within one genre, so he decided to make the album more of a “mixtape.”
“It was quite liberating. Once I allowed myself to not do a themed album, the songs were like children and are worlds amongst themselves,” he said. “How about the theme is [that it’s] a mixtape that a friend made you after graduation?”
His 11-album catalog has a wide range. He has always appreciated albums that don’t stick to one genre, he said, like the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” That record ranges from the bright pop-rock cut “Here Comes the Sun” to the progressive rock song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy.)”
“I discovered [The Beatles] in the ‘80s,” Sexton said. “There was an old scratched-up vinyl of ‘Abbey Road’ in my basement. It’s a beautiful thing about great music and great art, that they never go out of style.”
As for his next project, he said his next project likely will be a cover album featuring classic country songs from artists like Merle Haggard and George Jones. He plans to break out a couple of those songs at The Criterion.
Sexton said he recently returned home to his native Syracuse to visit his mother as she was dying. He said that he played her favorite song, Perry Como’s “And I Love You So,” for her before her death.
“She had a beautiful death, as far as death goes, at home surrounded by [her] 12 children.”
One song from “Mixtape,” entitled “Virginia,” is a tribute to his mother. “She was a special woman, and I’m going to miss her a lot,” Sexton said.
Rock band Rebecca Haviland and Whiskey Heart are set to open his Bar Harbor show.