Saturday, August 17th
Doors at 7:00 PM
"The real thing, people." -Billboard
In 2019 American singer-songwriter Martin Sexton extends touring in support of his ninth studio release Mixtape of the Open Road. The Wall Street Journal and CMT premiered tracks from the album that since garnered much critical acclaim. "Outstanding taste in songwriting as well as a soul-marinated voice." -Rollingstone
Syracuse native Sexton got his start singing in the streets and subways of Boston in the early 90's. Still fiercely independent and headlining venues from The Fillmore to Carnegie Hall, he has influenced a generation of contemporary artists. His songs have appeared in television series such as Scrubs, Parenthood, Masters of Sex and in numerous films, though it's his incendiary live show, honest lyrics, and vocal prowess that keep fans coming back for more.
With a vintage voice and a chest full of hauntingly heartfelt songs, prolific storyteller Mike Powell is the underground messenger of blue-collar soul. Each night the lights go up, this pioneering poet lets his guard down and allows the fervently fearless stories to come to life. His comfort behind a microphone blended with his unique brand of “atomic folk” creates a vibe that warms the room like a long ago fire burning hot inside a cabin in the woods.
He was grown along the banks of the mighty Black River in the paper making town of Champion, NY, by his mill working father and an artist mother. The front half of his childhood home was converted into a retail space called “Grandma’s Room” where his mother would sell her crafts to the people of their small community. It was typical for her customers to be invited into their small kitchen for coffee and conversation. Young Mike Powell would lie under the table, close his eyes and absorb all of the unique stories that these folks would tell.
Around that same table, once the sun had set, his father Larry would return in his blue mill-issued uniform with beer, friends and a carton of cigarettes. Larry would play guitar and his friends would sing along to old country songs by Willie, Hank and the Possum. The format in the kitchen was the same every night, Larry would play a song and then someone would tell a story. All of this seeped deep into Mike Powell’s fabric and it truly comes through in his shows. His performances feel like your sitting around a small kitchen table in a tiny American town with your closest friends drinking. laughing and telling tales.
In 2004, Powell left Syracuse University as the most decorated lacrosse player in history but declined offers to play professionally so that he could focus fully on the craft of songwriting. Over the past fifteen years he’s written over two hundred songs, released seven albums and has toured the country playing shows with Martin Sexton, David Lindley, Shooter Jennings, Sarah Lee Guthrie & many more.
This fiercely independent artist presents his songs in several different formats which allows his sound to match whatever room he’s playing. His relaxed solo-style listening room show puts Powell’s extreme comfort as a performer on display and breaks down the door between the stage and the mezzanine. His duo format features his best friend, multi-instrumentalist and musical companion for over 15 years, John William Hanus III. With the looseness of the solo show but with beautifully thoughtful landscapes created by sonic wizard Hanus III it truly adds another dimension to the palette and adds color to the pictures. Powell also fronts a five piece rock n’ roll band called The Black River that is designed for dancing and geared for grooving. Powell with The Black River has been described by fans as “Little Feat meets John Prine”.
“A Mike Powell performance is an exhibit in honest talent. One of the premier singer/songwriters in music today” - NYS Music
"Mike Powell‘s voice is the clincher…with just the right amount of grit and grain in his tone” - Post To Wire
“His lyrics are vulnerable and laden with vivid imagery like a Johnny Cash song, while subtly raspy vocals give his John Prine-eque melodic singing a more modern flavor.” - Birkby Music
“A captivating storytelling talent” - Positively Oswego