Ron Sexsmith Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Forever Endeavour, produced by Ron's long-time collaborator Mitchell Froom, will hit stores on February 5, 2013 (February 4 in the UK).
- RON SEXSMITH - -
Ron Sexsmith - "Snake Road" first single from 'Forever Endeavour'. 2013 (Warner Canada/Cooking Vinyl) Produced by Mitchell Froom All songs written by Ronald Eldon Sexsmith Songs: 1. Nowhere To Go 2. Nowhere Is 3. If Only Avenue 4. Snake Road 5. Blind Eye 6. Lost In Thought 7. Sneak Out The Back Door 8. Back Of My Hand 9. Deepens With Time 10. Me Myself and Wine 11. She Does My Heart Good 12. The Morning Light 13. Life After A Broken Heart (Bonus Track) 14. Autumn Light (Bonus Track) Forever Endeavour: In a world of workaday singer-songwriters mired in vacuous self-regard, news of a new Ron Sexsmith record can only gladden the heart of those who care about deftly poetic, gently affecting songs that perfectly distil the pitfalls of being human. Especially when that record pairs him again with the producer who, for two decades, has framed his music in its most sympathetic surroundings. In the late summer of 2011, Sexsmith bumped into Mitchell Froom in Los Angeles and gave him a CD of demos he’d been working on over the previous few months. His 2011 album ‘Long Player Late Bloomer’ had been a liberating pop-rock breakthrough for Ron, but when Froom – producer of Ron's first three albums and of 2006's ‘Time Being’ – began talking of string and woodwind arrangements, the singer was instantly intrigued. "Mitchell's someone I've always looked up to,” Ron says. “They don't really make producers like him anymore." The songs Ron had written in the wake of ‘Long Player’ – returning him as they did to the bittersweet melancholia on which diehard fans have feasted since 1995 – seemed to cry out for a softer, more orchestrated treatment than the gleaming electric sheen of its predecessor. "With ‘Long Player’, I wanted to make something like ‘Tapestry’ – just sort of catchy from start to finish," Ron says, "but these were perfect songs to work on with Mitchell. It's probably the most personal album I've made, too, so it felt appropriate to do it with him." The two set to work in November 2011 at Froom's Santa Monica studio, temporarily dubbed "Froom and Board" by Sexsmith. Assisting on the sessions were engineer David Boucher and a clutch of seasoned West Coast players that included drummer Pete Thomas, bassist Bob Glaub and pedal steel prince Greg Leisz. Strings were overdubbed afterwards using L.A.'s feted Calder Quartet. "There isn't anything on the record that hasn't been written," says Ron. "The bass parts are written, the drums are written, so there was no point at which musicians were just jamming along to songs. I thought that was pretty cool, because I'd never made a record like that before." The album's earliest song – and coincidentally its opening track – was written in the immediate aftermath of the ‘Long Player’ sessions, when for a terrible second it looked as though the record might not get a release at all. Setting Forever's downbeat tone, "Nowhere to Go" was Sexsmith doing the only thing he knew would help: giving sweet voice to deep despair and finding redemption in that process. The second track's title also starts with the word "Nowhere" but is implicitly a more hopeful articulation of pushing up from rock bottom. "'Nowhere Is' reminds me of one of those old Neil Diamond or Glen Campbell songs," Ron says, "and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in that sort of territory. There's something about the congas and the guitar and the strings, it's a sound you don't often hear anymore." The heart of ‘Forever Endeavour’, though, is a batch of songs sparked by an unexpected health scare in the summer of 2011, and it's these tracks that give the album its sorrowful gravitas. "In the middle of a tour last year, they detected a lump in my throat, and I had an MRI and the Ultrasound," says Ron. "And in the middle of recording this album, I had a CAT scan to see if everything was okay. So I had this period of a few months where I was freaking out about everything, and that probably explains why some of the songs are so philosophical. It was like, 'Either next year I'm going to be battling something or this is the last record I'm going to make'. "'The spectre of death was sort of in my head and I was thinking about it all the time until I got the good results. Not that I was panicking, but time started to force itself into my thoughts because I wasn't sure how much of it I had left. There's a few songs that look back, but the big ones are obviously 'Deepens with Time' and 'The Morning Light'. For a period of maybe two months I'd be lying in bed wondering if I had this thing inside that was growing and that was going to get me. I felt like Johnny Mercer, writing all these 'Days Of Wine and Roses' type songs." The songs are different responses to the alarming chance that Sexsmith had less time left on earth than he'd assumed. "Deepens With Time" looks back affectingly at childhood memories that make us who we are but also "wound and leave us scarred". "Snake Road" and "If Only Avenue" use the same metaphor to gaze back on paths not taken – or choices not made – but the latter is mid-tempo and boomily regretful where the former is defiantly resolute in its horn-parping blues-rock strut. Photo Credit: Michael D'Amico. © RonSexsmith.com 2005 - 2013.