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.
Best Albums of the 90s – #18
Other Songs – Ron Sexsmith (1997)
Ron Sexsmith’s second studio album (and third album overall) was my first introduction to his work. I bought Other Songs after reading effusive praise by Elvis Costello and about 15 seconds into the first track I knew I’d found a new favorite.
Sexsmith would go on to record increasingly better produced records but the low-key, mostly acoustic Other Songs remains one of his very finest moments.
Top Ten Songs of 2011 – #7
Another year, another stellar Ron Sexsmith album that goes completely unnoticed by the general public.
What I find interesting is that when I look up reviews of Sexsmith’s work, invariably the critics heap him with praise and bemoan his lack of popularity. But come December, when it’s list-making time, I have yet to see Sexsmith’s Long Player Late Bloomer show up on anybody’s best-of.
Best Songwriters – #8 – Ron Sexsmith
Ron Sexsmith’s presence here won’t come as a surprise to any of you who’ve watched me lavish praise on him over the course of ten Ron Sexsmith Weekends. In fact, the bigger surprise might be that he isn’t higher on the list.
Sexsmith is perhaps the finest melody-writer working in the business today. He doesn’t go in crazy new directions on each album; he doesn’t create cinematic landscapes through innovative production techniques; he doesn’t play fast and loose with shifting time signatures. He simply writes — with amazing consistency — some of the most sublime melodies I’ve ever heard.
Just when you thought he was out, I pull him back IN!
Don’t worry, anti-Sexsmith heathens, this is just a bit of housekeeping. I haven’t posted a review of Ron Sexsmith’s latest album, Long Player Late Bloomer, and this post will serve in that capacity.
Despite the Sexsmith antagonism I heard from the more vocal segment of my readership, the Ron Sexsmith Weekends actually did quite well traffic-wise, and toward the end generated some of my most impassioned comments from a fan base that discovered the series too late.
Here it is, the day you’ve all been waiting for… the final post in my series of Ron Sexsmith Weekends.
I know these entries weren’t received with the enthusiasm that I hoped (and even expected, to be honest) but I’m still glad I stuck with them. If I’m going to keep the blog going, I figure I’ll wind up giving the weekend treatment to many of my favorite artists, and Sexsmith sits atop that list alongside many other greats.
Today’s song is another from his latest album, Long Player Late Bloomer. It has a gentle melody that reminds me of early Simon & Garfunkel, a style I’ve always adored. It’s a nice note to go out on.
Ron Sexsmith’s most recent album, Long Player Late Bloomer, was released just this year and, while I hate to sound like a broken record here, it is perhaps his best yet.
Ironically, the biggest knock on Sexsmith is that he’s so consistently good at doing what he does that his work tends to run together. With most artists, I can point to an album (or two or three) that epitomize their greatness. I have an Elvis Costello holy trinity, six Dylan albums I consider his masterpieces, clear favorites by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Ben Folds, Aimee Mann and Lucinda Williams.