According to an uncited (and therefore quite dubious) tidbit on The Tremeloes’ Wikipedia page, the band was signed by their label (Decca) over another English band, The Beatles, who were deemed a bit too far away in Liverpool.
Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith straddles the line between ‘Folk Rock Derivative’ and ‘Pure Pop’ in my musical genome. He got his start as a folk singer before expanding his sound over a dozen or so albums to include pop and jazz influences.
He never has delved into country, though, so he won’t be the first artist on my list to make a clean sweep. And while he has made use of increasingly varied instrumentation, his weapon of choice is the acoustic guitar, not the piano.
This might seem incongruous with Sexsmith’s usual style — he’s not exactly Buena Vista Social Club material — but it works surprisingly well.
These horn parts didn’t inform the writing of the album but were added to the recorded tracks later to flesh out the sound. Sometimes, when you have a classic three-minute pop singer-songwriter like Sexsmith, it takes just a dash of flavor to really elevate the material.
In 2008, Ron Sexsmith released Exit Strategy of the Soul, probably his most lovely album to date, sonically. The record opens with an instrumental track called ‘Spiritude,’ a beautiful piece on piano and strings that really sets the mood for the sublime set to come. The similar closing track, ‘Dawn Anna,’ is even prettier.
In between is Sexsmith’s most spiritual group of songs. Tracks such as ‘This Is How I Know,’ in which Sexsmith sings “out of nothing came the miracle that loved us into being” sent me searching to see if this guy is a Christian rocker in disguise. But I found an interview in which he says he’s spiritual but not religious, and feels that organized religion often does more harm than good. I can live with that.
Over nine studio albums, he has danced with the girl that brung him, rarely straying from his signature McCartney-esque singer-songwriter blend of folk and pop. And by rarely, I mean never. If you listened to his albums at random, you’d have a hard time putting them in chronological order. Sure, his vocals have gotten stronger and his production a little more crisp, but only by the smallest degrees. His idea of a bold stylistic departure is hiring a horn section to back him up on a few tracks.