Song of the Day #1,964: ‘Nowhere Is’ – Ron Sexsmith

forever_endeavourBest Songs of 2013 – #24

Ron Sexsmith’s most impressive quality is his knack for writing melodies that sound instantly familiar.

Every once in awhile I freak myself out with the thought that we really shouldn’t ever hear any new songs, because haven’t all the available combinations of notes (the ones that sound good, anyway) been taken by now?

But then I remember having the same thought 25 years ago, and all of the great music that’s been written since argues against that theory.

Ron Sexsmith puts the lie to that idea as well, every time he lays down a new track.

Just listen to today’s track, ‘Nowhere Is,’ from his latest album, Forever Endeavour. The melody of the verses is such a delicate, meandering thing that just feels perfectly, beautifully right. His songcraft reminds me of Paul Simon back in the Garfunkel days.

A shadow falls across my mind
And the silence comes over me
When I look behind
And I think of how blue I might be
Were it not for this love I’ve found
I’d be lost at sea

[Chorus]
I know where
I’ve been there
Now I know where nowhere is
I know where
I’ve been there
Now I know where nowhere is

I lived alone I made my bed
Had to shove everything I owned
To room of regrets
I hit the town they hit it too
Were it not for this joy I found
Life would not be new

[Chorus]

So I count my blessings and my lucky stars
For this love is the best thing
I ever gave my heart

[Chorus]

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,964: ‘Nowhere Is’ – Ron Sexsmith

  1. Dana says:

    It’s funny, Amy was just making the same observation the other day that she is constantly amazed as to how songwriters create new sounding music since there are, after all, only so many notes to be combined. When you think about music more mathematically, though, it shouldn’t be so surprising. Just think about the multiples of combinations that can be created with 13 numbers (the number of notes in the scale) and then consider the variations in rhythm, chords, instruments, etc that the songwriter can use to further vary the sound, and you really do have an almost endless amount of potential new combinations and therefore new music.

    Today’s song is yet another well crafted offering from one of the best songwriters nobody (okay, very few) has heard of, but I’m sure he would appreciate the love he receives from you on this blog.

  2. Clay says:

    I appreciate the mathematical argument for endless new music, but at the same time, don’t the vast majority of those combinations not sound very good? Isn’t there a much smaller universe of note and chord combinations that are actually pleasing to the ear? Or maybe that list is just as vast.

  3. Dana says:

    Yes, there are certainly combinations that don’t seem pleasing to the ear. However, what is interesting is how many musical “rules” have been broken over the years, often initially being received negatively by audiences and critics, then eventually praised as revolutionary and ultimately deemed acceptable. Such rule breaking started with classical music and continued through baroque, blues, jazz, heavy metal, new wave, world music, etc. Dissonant chord combinations and patterns once seen as musical blasphemy are now commonplace. Same goes for blues and jazz “half notes” and slides and syncopated rhythms.

    I think the fun part for most songwriters is to take something basic, maybe even derivative, and put just enough twist on it…maybe an unexpected chord change or insertion of a different instrument, to make something “new.” Or you can do what Lady Gaga did and just put new lyrics to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and have a “new” hit with “Born this Way.” 😄

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