Ron Sexsmith - Forever Endeavour

A master class in melancholia

After 20 years in the music
business, Sexsmith’s 2011
album Long Player Late
Bloomer brought him closer
to the mainstream than ever,
but its success was tempered
by a health scare later the
same year. Doctors found
a lump on his throat, and for
the next few months “the
spectre of death”, as he put
it, inspired this set of songs
on the themes of mortality
and taking stock.

Thankfully given the all-clear,
the Canadian
organised his thoughts into
a more introspective album
than the pop jangle of its
predecessor. Sexmith
“counts his blessings… and
thanks lucky stars” on
Nowhere Is, replays episodes
he regrets on Snake Road
and takes selfish humanity to
task on Blind Eye. Yet for
every sombre reflection
there’s an equally optimistic
counterpoint, such as the
marital bliss of She Does My
Heart Good or the celebration of simple pleasures Me
Myself And Wine.

Dispensing with the
power-pop amplification of
much of … Late Bloomer,
Sexsmith’s stripped-down
acoustic vignettes are closer
to material from 1997’s
Other Songs, albeit with the
addition of subtle strings that
occasionally reference Jimmy
Webb’s work. What remains a
constant is the warm murmur
of the voice delivering tales
from the heart with a literary
confidence few in his field
can match.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Cooking Vinyl | COOKCD 577

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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