Charlie Sexton grew up a blues guitar prodigy in an Austin that already had a young legend in Stevie Ray Vaughan, so in 1985 the then-teenager went in another direction, recording the new wave hit "Beat's So Lonely," which he describes as "a little bit Elvis and a little bit Bowie." By 20 he'd played with Bowie, as well as with Keith Richards and Bob Dylan, but his music career foundered.
Label troubles dogged his solo career, while his early-'90s band, Arc Angels, imploded after just a few years. Sexton was without a label and with a newborn to support when Dylan asked him to join his backing band in '99. It paid handsomely in dollars and profile (his playing's all over Love & Theft), but the grueling tour regime ultimately cost him his marriage.
Salvaging Lucinda Williams's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road brought attention to Sexton's production skills, and guitar began taking a backseat to the turning knobs. Along the way, he released the wonderful '05 solo album Cruel & Gentle Things, his first in a decade, an intimate, acoustic-driven album with a spare but supple physicality that should fit the yoga studio where the show will take place. "I keep doing it all, because it's all helpful to the other," Sexton says. "After months in the studio 12-14 hour days, it's good to do the gig or play guitar on someone's record."
Sunday, May 25, at Bend Studio, inside Nia Moves, 803 Pecore, www.bendstudio.com/houston.htm.
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