Syracuse, N.Y., is notable on a pop-culture level for three reasons: Tom Cruise was born there, it was the next stop on Elvis’ tour before he died on the toilet, and it’s the hometown of singer/songwriter Martin Sexton. Unlike the first two luminaries, Sexton actually likes going to the Salt City on a regular basis, and it’s no wonder: The larger-than-life-sized butter sculptures at the state fair are worth taking in, there are more than a few lawn-mower races to enter, and, if you want to go out in Mother Nature to kill some stuff, you can do that, too. Or, you can sit back and write some rustic, Americana-by-way-of-Van-Morrison tunes like Sexton did for his latest album, Sugarcoating. It’s good enough to make you grateful Sexton hasn’t wasted his life lawn-mower racing.
SEXTON PERFORMS WITH CARA SALIMANDO AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE BIRCHMERE, 3701 MT. VERNON AVE., ALEXANDRIA. $35. (703) 549-7500.