To rousing applause, Ron Sexsmith took the stage at The London Music Hall and opened the show the same way he opens his newest album, throwing himself into It Won’t Last for Long. His melodic voice moved easily up and down as the lyrics wove the tales and word plays Sexsmith is known for. It’s easy to see why the likes of Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Emmylou Harris are fans of Ron. Even more, it’s easy to understand why I myself am a fan. Last night’s show was a beautiful display of more than song writing. It was a musical journey of heartache and triumph, humour and self-deprecation.
Ron peppered tracks from his newest album, The Last Rider, through out the evening’s set list. While some critics have said the album is no different than Ron’s previous works, I’d have to disagree whole heartedly. The difference is hard to put your finger on but performed live, the songs are brighter (not necessarily happier) and fuller. This album is Ron’s first with his touring band and also the first he produced (more on that in my next post). In my opinion it shows huge growth.
Aside from his new album tracks, Ron mixed a plethora of tunes from his vast song book into the evening. Highlights included Secret Heart, the epically dismal tale of Strawberry Blonde, Late Bloomer and Autumn Light performed with the vocal enchantress that is Lori Cullen. Backed by an incredibly talented gang of quirky musicians, the performance was a pleasure to watch.
My favourite part of the evening was when Ron performed the song Sneak Out the Backdoor solo. The lyrics in this song which play on the anxieties of social situations, combined with a sleepy melody and stripped down vocals made it a really moving listening experience.
Coming back for an encore, Sexsmith and the band concluded the evening with Brandy Alexander, a song he cowrote with Leslie Feist tying to an infamous story about John Lennon at the iconic Troubador. It was a brilliant end to a truly brilliant evening.
Peace, love and history.
P.S. Stay tuned for part two of this blog on my interview with Ron!