I think I’ve written about Ron Sexsmith before, but here we go again. I discovered Ron about ten years ago, having read reviews about this odd-looking, introverted songwriter from Canada who sang about lonely underdogs. His compassion and sincerity were often cited, alongside his skill with a melody. The intriguing name added to his aura of defiant individuality – maybe shy people can be sexy too?!
In those days I was still pretty deep in a sea of mental health issues, regularly returning to my flat at the end of the day (or night) filled with anxiety and despondency. It was long before I’d discovered spirituality and self-care; but I had an inkling that Ron would do something for me, having read about his heartfelt songs that spoke to and for the outsider.
As soon as I played the ‘Retriever’ CD (which includes this track) this was confirmed; at the risk of sounding excessive it was like finding a brother. As a highly sensitive person, things often hang heavy on my heart, and this is the mood of Ron’s songs, which throb with a gentle dignity.
Melodically, I felt a close familiarity too – Ron is grounded in folk music but with a McCartney-esque tunefulness, often with classy hints of The Smiths and Gershwin. His songs speak of being knocked about by life, but finding philosophical truths along the way. It is melancholy for sure, but uplifting at the same time. Melodies that soar like these couldn’t help being life-affirming, and there is a sense that he is sharing hard-won insights about the human condition for us all to benefit from.
Finding solutions to problems is what we all want (don’t we?) but hearing your soul sung back at you comes a close second. I found this album was a vital salve to my worries whenever I needed it. Obviously, I was keen to hear more, but despite listening to quite a few of Ron’s albums, none matched the impact of this one for me. It seems that this album was one where he decided to make a particularly melodic album – that’s a vital ingredient for me. However, other tracks I would recommend are ‘Foolproof’ and ‘God Loves Everyone’. That includes you Ron. x