What is artistic confidence? Probably writing an album of saccharine songs, singing them with frail Canadian vocals, and somehow sounding wholly sincere and completely natural. Ron Sexsmith is a great songwriter. Similar to Nick Lowe, another great, Sexsmith expresses emotions and situations in a frank, guileless tone that also breathes out unreplicable kinks. There are easy analytic pitfalls to trip into (and I have)—‘uncool but cool,’ ‘Canadian nerd,’ ‘baby-faced’—the implication being that the end result is from divine intervention. This is a lovely acoustic record, rich with unpretentious melodies. The singer is melancholic, but bathes in his awkward sensitivities like a labrador in a mud puddle.
A favourite: ‘Lebanon, Tennessee’