Saturday, July 16, 2011


     There are singers and then there are musical artists.  Mr. Ron Sexsmith is a musical artist.  His latest album LONG PLAYER LATE BLOOMER (2011, Warner Music) has been shortlisted as a nominee for the prestigious 2011 Polaris Music Prize.  The first track 'Get in Line' has a light country feel to it, and seems addressed to his naysayers and critics: "If you meant to shower me with guilt better get in line/If you're cryin' over milk that's spilt, well take a number and wait in line."  'The Reason Why' is joyful sounding and ponders if there is a reason for everything and concludes we do not always need a reason why: "Hoping for an answer/I glance up to indifferent skies" and "All we would hear is a deafening silence."  'Believe it when I see it' finds Ron working out his faith: "We've just a wish and an empty vessel/A hole to fill with days/On a road where children stray/Then pray there is no hell and as for heaven, well if seeing is believing/I'll believe it when I see it" and "We're bound to waste all our free will and ambition/If we got no vision and we got no spine."  'Miracles' slows things down and evidences faith: "There are miracles appearing in broad daylight to a cynical world so blind/With both of us knowing there's so much to dream of/It's a miracle my love."  Musically 'No Help at All' sounds like a TV theme song from the 70's or 80's.  It details the loss of hope: "Won't somebody tell me what these eyes are for/I can't see a light anymore, I can't see a light anymore/It gets lonesome in that valley/You're on your own/You've got to go it alone/You've got to go it alone."  The title track, 'Late Bloomer', is autobiographical and has a smooth sounding chorus: "I'm a late bloomer/I'm a slow learner/And I've heard the penny drop/I'm a small player with a tall order to come out on top/And without selling my soul/That everyone might know that I'm a late bloomer." 
     'Heavenly' will appeal to fans of the Lost Dogs and is poetic: "The morning wears her/Golden autumn dress/It's a heavenly love that you and I possess."  'Michael and His Dad' is a unique story song about a boy and his father short on cash, but rich in love.  'Middle of Love' is an upbeat Sheryl Crow style tune about being head over heels in love.  'Everytime I follow' features crooner style vocals and speaks of the bittersweet power of memory when it comes to lost loves: "The blues are calling me/Oh every time I follow a tearful memory/Oh every time I follow/But in the midst of emptiness/You fill my heart/With love and music/And tell me where to start."  'Eye Candy' has a playful sound to it and showcases humourous lyrics about shady characters: "Eye candy, ear poison/Oh mother keep your boys in/'Cause uptown came downtown/And now they keep hanging around" and "You should see the way they dance/Rubbing up against everybody's leg/And like a bad masseuse/Everything they do rubs me the wrong way."  'Love Shines' is about hopes, dreams and desires coming to fruition, and echoes musically Ron's 2005 hit 'Not About to Lose': "I've seen what love can do, I understand/It's like the candle glowing in the wine/It fills a heart with silver stars/That's where my love shines."  The closing song 'Nowadays' is sung with a spirit of thankfulness and could be addressed to a lover or God: "Used to be I felt so all alone/Used to be I dealt with devils on my own/But nowadays I hear your song/Ringing through my heart and soul/And when I've had enough/Your love takes hold/I just throw my hands up/And your love takes hold."
     LONG PLAYER LATE BLOOMER is a strong, meaty album.  It is the antithesis of much of the disposable music out there today.  I'm rating it 88%! Thanks to my brother Mark A. Alward for introducing me to this album.