Charlie Sexton


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photograph of Charlie Sexton

Charles Wayne Sexton (born August 11, 1968) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, best known as the guitarist for Bob Dylan's backing band from 1999 to 2002.

Sexton's mother was 16 years old when she gave birth to him in San Antonio, Texas. When he was four, he and his mother moved to Austin, where clubs like the Armadillo World Headquarters, the Soap Creek Saloon, and more notably the Split Rail and Antone's Blues Club exposed him to popular music.

After a brief period living outside of Austin with his mother, Sexton moved back to Austin at the age of 12. With the help of Joe Ely and other local musicians such as Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sexton developed his talents as a musician.

Sexton was soon regarded as a musical prodigy, and he toured with a variety of musical acts during his early teens before releasing his debut album, Pictures For Pleasure, in 1985. Recorded when he was 16 years old, it yielded the Top 20 hit single, "Beat's So Lonely."

While still in his late teens, Sexton's skills as a guitar player were in great demand, and he became a popular session player, recording with artists like Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Don Henley, and Bob Dylan. He eventually followed up his debut with the self-titled Charlie Sexton, recorded at the age of twenty.

Sexton later contributed songs to various motion picture soundtracks, including True Romance and Air America while making a cameo fronting a bar band in Thelma & Louise. It was around this time, between 1992 and 1994, that Sexton was a member of Austin's Arc Angels. A blues rock band featuring Texas musicians Doyle Bramhall II, Tommy Shannon and Chris "Whipper" Layton, the group recorded one self-titled album, released in 1992 on Geffen Records, before they disbanded.

Sexton soon formed a new group, the Charlie Sexton Sextet, and released Under The Wishing Tree in 1995 on MCA Records. Though sales were considered disappointing, it was met with critical acclaim.

In the meantime, Sexton continued to perform with other artists, appearing on such notable albums as Lucinda Williams's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Shawn Colvin's Grammy-winning album A Few Small Repairs.

In 1999, Sexton was hired by Bob Dylan to replace Bucky Baxter. Sexton had previously played with Dylan during a pair of Austin, Texas concerts in 1996, and on some demos recorded in the fall of 1983.

Sexton's residency with Dylan brought him great exposure, with many critics singling out the interplay between him and Larry Campbell, who was also a guitarist in Dylan's backing band. Hailed as one of Dylan's best bands, the group recorded a number of studio recordings, including Things Have Changed (from the 1999 film the Wonder Boys) and 2001's critically acclaimed album, Love and Theft. He also performed and appeared with them in 2003's Masked & Anonymous.

In the meantime, Sexton continued working with other artists, producing Double Trouble's Been a Long Time and Lucinda Williams's Essence, both released in 2001. Since leaving Dylan's band, Sexton has produced numerous other works, including Edie Brickell's Volcano (2003), Jon Dee Graham's Great Battle (2004), Shannon McNally's Geronimo (2005), and Los Super Seven's Heard It on the X (2005). In late 2005, Sexton released his latest album, Cruel and Gentle Things. Read more about Charlie Sexton on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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