Tag Archives: Ron Sexsmith

ron sexsmith saint bernard

Ron Sexsmith – “Saint Bernard”

ron sexsmith saint bernardIt’s darned cold, at least around these parts, and it’s been cold for far too long. The following song and video should warm, if nothing else, the cockles of one’s heart.

Who else is gonna rescue me
When I’m face down in the snow?
No other dog looks so much like me
And can fill in when I’m ill and unable to make the show

There’s a flask around his neck
Of brandy for me
To sip on as I reflect
On immortality

That’s Ron Sexsmith, from his forthcoming album Carousel One.

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan – “Never Gonna Be The Same Again”

Never Gonna Be The Same Again Bob DylanAlthough it was during the mid-1980s that yours truly happened to become a Bob Dylan fan, listening to his albums from that period has sometimes seemed like a guilty pleasure. While I’d stick up unreservedly for a certain number of those songs, there are those others that just seem silly. Yet, sometimes I kind of like them anyway. One that I probably wouldn’t have thought to defend in solemn company—but really have always liked—is “Never Gonna Be The Same Again” from his 1985 album Empire Burlesque. Well, now I’m correcting myself, and it’s thanks to hearing a solo acoustic version by Ron Sexsmith (on YouTube at this link).

Happening somehow upon Sexsmith’s YouTube channel (discreetly titled “Rawnboy”) made me feel like I’d found something secret and private (hope I’m not blowing the cover). Although he’s a genuine star and one of the finest pop songwriters of the last couple of decades, here he is just sitting in his kitchen and living room and playing things casually into the webcam, like a million YouTube amateurs do. So he’s uploaded a wealth of acoustic versions of his own songs, and a plethora of affectionate cover versions. (You’ve gotta wish everyone you were a fan of would do something like this. Bob, Van, you listening?) And of all the Bob Dylan songs he chooses to sing, it’s “Never Gonna Be the Same Again.” Continue reading Bob Dylan – “Never Gonna Be The Same Again”

The Cinch Review

“Autumn Light” – Ron Sexsmith with Don Black

Autumn Light Ron SexsmithI’m sure that if you are a music lover then you’ve had the experience of being suddenly struck by a song you’d heard before but had not been especially moved by until then. Music being what it is, and our brains being what they are, it just works out that way sometimes. The song might have just passed over or through you until it happened to find its moment: a moment when the right nerve of yours was exposed to be touched by it.

My own nerves are pretty well exposed these days whenever I’m on an airplane, which I have been several times lately. It’s nothing to most people, as I well know—they are blessedly able to casually leaf through the in-flight magazine or watch some meatball movie on the screen as if they’re sitting safely at home—but for me the emotions are already rising to the surface as the plane starts taxiing, and I’m praying and trying (vainly) to get my spirit right with the Man Upstairs. And at the cruising altitude of 35,000 feet or whatever insane number it is, my emotions continue to be sharpened by the knowledge that I am constantly a second or two away from a helpless and traumatic death if anything goes wrong with the plane. My only flights nowadays being trans-Atlantic ones to visit family, this is a long time to spend reconciling oneself with such finalities. Continue reading “Autumn Light” – Ron Sexsmith with Don Black

The Cinch Review

Ron Sexsmith: Forever Endeavor

Review of Forever Endeavor by Ron SexsmithWhat is it about a great Ron Sexsmith song that can be so very pleasing and satisfying, right on the first hearing? I was trying to work that out while listening to one after another on his latest album, Forever Endeavor. For me at least I think it’s something like this: One has heard in one’s lifetime a whole lot of songs, by artists one likes a little or a lot, and there are so many instances where a song begins with promise but instead of fulfilling that promise it gets stuck, or reaches for a height it cannot attain. Sexsmith at his best can turn out a tune that is just so right, musically and lyrically, and seems to arrive and unfold effortlessly. He writes with an innate knowledge of so much of what’s come before him, and blends musical and lyrical references without strain.

Take just one song on this record. We’ve all heard of “Lonely Avenue,” but Ron Sexsmith gives us “If Only Avenue,” with a perfectly wistful and irresistible melody.

With the luxury of hindsight
The past becomes so clear
As I look out on the twilight
My days have become years
It’s strange, as people we’re prone to dwell
On things that we can’t undo
And we’re liable to wander down
If Only Avenue

Cue the wonderfully languid riff that anchors the tune, and basically there’s nothing you can say about this short, unpretentious pop song other than that it is flawless, and could easily be taken for a standard written forty years ago. As on a number of other tracks, producer Mitchell Froom has added string arrangements that are understated and apropos. The whole thing is just a sheer pleasure. Continue reading Ron Sexsmith: Forever Endeavor

The Cinch Review

Ron Sexsmith: Long Player Late Bloomer

Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late BloomerBehold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
(Psalms 51:6)

I remember when I first heard Ron Sexsmith; not in a JFK-getting-shot sense, but generally that it was in the first half of the 1990s and the song was Secret Heart. It seemed like a good song, and the singer of it seemed likely to be a solid sort. Some people were saying that he was “the new Bob Dylan.” Well, just like all the other new Bob Dylans, he was nothing of the kind and that manner of talk didn’t help him; he was, instead, the current Ron Sexsmith. And that wasn’t such a bad thing at all. Sexsmith is a (Canadian) songwriter with a gift for an instantly seductive pop/folk/rock melody, a facile way with a lyrical narrative and the ability to produce really charming and sometimes deeply poignant turns-of-phrase. Better yet, he can combine all those elements into a whole that seems utterly unforced. (That seamless combination may be the toughest trick for would-be pop songwriters — not to mention some practicing ones.) He’s essentially a confessional-type songwriter, but one who generally avoids tripping into the excessively lugubrious or precious. Continue reading Ron Sexsmith: Long Player Late Bloomer

The Cinch Review

The Loudness War “is over”

Is the music industry’s Loudness War actually over? It would be very good news. I noticed a lot of traffic on my old post about the problems with Bob Dylan’s 21st century CDs a few days ago. It turns out that March 25th was “Dynamic Range Day” — a day set by audio activists to bring attention to the Loudness War (wherein much modern music is deliberately mastered too loud at the end of the production process — destroying the natural gulf between the quieter and louder part of a recording — in the perverse and evil belief that this will help the music sell better). Continue reading The Loudness War “is over”