Why, you ask, on the heels of weekends dedicated to such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Beatles and all of Motown, would I choose to shift my focus to a little-known Canadian singer-songwriter?
For a couple of reasons.
First, he could use the attention. Sexsmith is a special talent who doesn’t get the exposure he deserves. He looks like a guy who lives in his parents’ basement browsing Lord of the Rings chat rooms — not exactly MTV material. I don’t pretend that my blog is some sort of grand stage, but I’d like to do my part to spread the word.
And second, I’ve yet to find a great way to feature his songs on the blog. Though he’s released nine studio albums, they don’t really lend themselves to the sort of theme weeks I usually do. His career hasn’t had the ebbs and flows you see with more established artists. He just quietly puts out record after record of smart, literate pop music.
So I figured the weekends would give me a nice opportunity to showcase some of those songs without the burden of coming up with interesting and informative things to say about each one.
I’m starting with a duet (keeping that theme going!) between Sexsmith and Costello, performed on Costello’s short-lived but wonderful Sundance Channel show Spectacle. Costello has been one of Sexmith’s biggest promoters, and here he credits him for breathing new life into a song Elvis had given up on. I adore this song in all of its incarnations.
When you’re old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I’m a man with a mission in two or three editions
And I’m giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book
Chapter One we didn’t really get along
Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you
You said you’d stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six
The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks
Don’t tell me you don’t know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I’d still own the film rights and be working on the sequel