Ron Sexsmith – Ron Sexsmith
The thing that grabs you first about Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith is his voice. While you may think you hear a glimmer of someone you recognize, this sound is distinctly his own. His slow, supple vibrato and quirky phrasing are so captivating that it’s easy to be well into the album before even noticing the instrumentation or arrangements of the songs.
It’s a voice that reeks of pure, raw emotion. It’s not the sappy, artificial emotion some singers use to sell a song they have no feeling for. I”s not really the “heart-on-the-sleeve” variety, either. In fact, you never even get the impression Sexsmith particularly enjoys sharing his feelings this way. Instead, you get a sense that if not for music, there would simply be no other way for his emotions to escape.
Producer Mitchell Froom does an admirable job of showcasing Sexsmith’s vocals, though he loses some of the critical interplay between voice and guitar. The production is quaint but not distracting and ultimately saves some of the songs. Hauntingly beautiful ballads such as “Speaking With the Angel” and “Wastin’ Time” could have been reduced to little more than saccharine lite-rock had they been overproduced.
There’s not much here that will encourage mass appeal through commercial airplay, but this is definitely a worthy album for fans of the singer/songwriter genre. With or without radio support, Sexsmith ultimately will win an audience on the strength of his voice.