If you have adventurous ears and like music from all sorts of genres, keep checking in. This week, I’ve got a gem from Ron Sexsmith, which is redundant at this stage. His albums come in two flavors: good and very good. His new CD — Long Player Late Bloomer — is very good.
Like Richard Thompson and other perennial favorites of critics and fellow musicians, every album or so by Ron Sexsmith is touted as “the one” — the album that’s going to break him out and finally get Sexsmith the commercial rewards he so richly deserves. I’d love to think so, but don’t you believe it.
Chances are, if you’re smart and daring enough to lay some money down on a CD by a man who crafts brilliant pop music for adults, Ron Sexsmith will become a new favorite of yours AND a well-kept secret you can feel special for sharing with the likes of Sheryl Crow, John Hiatt, Elvis Costello, kd lang and more rock music writers than you can shake a stick at. On the plus side, this means you can continue to see Sexsmith perform in venues around the country where intimacy rather than spectacle is the watchword and — hopefully — where fans are there to hear him perform, rather than just there to be seen and heard by everyone around them.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the planets are aligning to give him the audience he deserves. A documentary film about him just debuted on TV in the UK. Love Shines — also a track on his new album — will play at the SXSW event this month. The acclaim for his new CD is certainly deafening. And with most of his albums, the more I listen to it the more it sinks into my brain and won’t let go.
Sexsmith has a McCartney-esque gift for melody, but they’re not the sort of hooks that grab you by the throat. They’re sneaky, slithery things that slide into your subconsciousness — always hummable, always memorable but in a very low-key manner. First you listen, then you sing along, then you start hearing the melodies in your head all the time. By the fourth or fifth listen to Long Player Late Bloomer, you’ll swear you’ve known these songs all your life.
You can stream all the new songs on MySpace right now.
For Sexsmith, it’s also quite a forceful album. His voice always brings a melancholy air, a blue-ish tinge to all he sings.
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