Highly regarded guitarist Charlie Sexton has had success not only as a solo artist, but also as a sideman, producer, and composer. After the Top 20 hit “Beat’s So Lonely” from his debut album in the 80’s, Sexton went on to release three more solo albums, Charlie Sexton (1989), Under the Wishing Tree (1995), and Cruel and Gentle Things (2005). His prodigal guitar playing also quickly led to studio work playing for the likes of Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Don Henley, and Bob Dylan. The latter would ultimately lead to a regular spot in Dylan’s band.

Out from behind the guitar, Sexton is a frequent producer, mixer, and songwriter. His production credits include Lucinda Williams’s Essence, Edie Brickell’s Volcano and Edie Brickell, and more recently Matt Morris’s debut album When Everything Breaks Open which he co-produced with Justin Timberlake. Songs written by Sexton can be found on the soundtracks to Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance (1993) and Air America (1990) starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr., and in 2009 Sexton composed and performed the score to The Open Road starring Jeff Bridges and Justin Timberlake. 2009 also marked the world reunion tour of Sexton’s Austin super-group Arc Angels, including a string of dates with Eric Clapton in England.

In 2013, Sexton produced the winner of the NewSong Contest, in addition to touring heavily with the Court Yard Hounds and Bob Dylan. With continued touring, 2014 saw him starring as Ethan Hawke’s roommate in Richard Linklater’s independent coming-of-age drama film “Boyhood”. The song “Split The Difference” received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, produced by Sexton. He worked on 3 songs with Hawke for the original sound track. Sexton has since been touring as guitarist for Bob Dylan, including his major North American and World Tours. Recently, Sexton was nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year in 2017’s Americana Music Awards, and played the role of Townes Van Zandt in Ethan Hawke’s 2018 film “Blaze.”

Charlie Sexton, raised in Austin, Texas, made his debut with Pictures For Pleasure in 1985 at age 16. He followed that up with a self-titled second album when he was 20. Because word of his reputation as a prodigy guitar player spread far and wide, he found himself an in-demand session player while still in his late teens, and he had the opportunity to record with Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Bob Dylan. 

Born to a mother who was just 16 when she gave birth to Charlie, he and his mother moved to Austin when he was just four. His mother would get him out to clubs like the Armadillo World Headquarters and the Soap Creek Saloon. Places like the Split Rail and Antone’s blues club became his classrooms. After living outside of Austin for a while with his mother, he moved back to Austin when he was 12, and the musicians around Austin, his heroes, people like Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Ely and others, took him in and put him up until he could earn more of a living on his own.

From 1992 to 1994, he was a member of Austin’s Arc Angels, along with Doyle Bramhall II, Tommy Shannon and Chris “Whipper” Layton. That group recorded one self-titled album, released in 1992 on Geffen Records. By the time the Arc Angels decided to disband, Sexton was 24 years old and already pegged as a blues musician. But in fact, Sexton plays gutsy, fluid blues guitar, but also spirited rock ‘n’ roll guitar.

In 1994 and 1995, he formed and recorded with his new group, the Charlie Sexton Sextet, and his debut for MCA Records, Under The Wishing Tree, was released in 1995. Sexton’s album was well-received by the critics. Under The Wishing Tree presents Sexton in an array of musical genres, touching on Celtic flavored rock, folk-rock and blues. There is a lot of interplay between guitars, violins, cellos, Dobros and mandolins on the recording, and Sexton’s vocals ride high on top of the melodies. On his 1995 tour to support the album, he was accompanied by Susan Boelz, violin, Michael Ramos, organ, and George Reiff, bass and Rafael Gayol, drums.

As a songwriter, Sexton writes about what he knows, so Texas themes permeate his songs. He considers Bob Dylan his strongest songwriting influence, while he counts Austin legends Jimmie Vaughan and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan among his prime influences for guitar playing. His lyrics mix autobiographical experiences with images that are open to interpretation. More great things are in the offing for this guitarist, singer and songwriter as he recently signed a recording contract with Back Porch Records.