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Ron Sexsmith brings Carousel One to Ottawa

By Terry Steeves on May 6, 2015

When you listen to the music of Canadian artist and multi-Juno Award winner, Ron Sexsmith, be prepared to slow down your life for a moment, and slip into a world of easy-paced melodies and earnestly written songs you‘ll find yourself quickly identifying with. He’ll lead you down a private path that lives inside us all, with lyrics that reflect the yearning of truth, love, and life’s moments and changing tides that can slip under the skin of the heart and mind.

Carousel One, Sexsmith’s 14th album released in late March, marks the career of this highly revered and respected songwriter that has spanned some 30 years, from his earliest recorded efforts. These 16 tracks are rich in an assortment of instrumental flavours, including pedal steel, acoustic, and electric guitars, organ, piano, and harpsichord keyboard varieties, and threaded with the signature melancholy tones of Sexsmith’s voice. Bob Glaub (bass), Jon Graboff (guitar), Don Heffington (drums), and John Ginty (keys), make up the impressive array of seasoned musicians, handpicked by the album’s producer, Jim Scott.

“The response to the album has been great so far, and I’m pleasantly surprised at all the positive reviews. Whenever a new album comes out, I think, will this be the one? I like to see things improve…to move in a forward direction. In my mind, I’m always hoping, then I slip into these moods where I wonder, ’what’s the point of doing all this?’ But these minor grievances pass and I tell myself, I get to do what I love for a living…”

There’s the upbeat, country-rock pace of “Saint Bernard”, the more introspective tones of songs, “Nothing Feels The Same Anymore” and “Lord Knows“, the lovely flow of “Sure As The Sun”, the wonderful sentimentality of both “Lucky Penny“, and “Loving You“, the Beatlesque-toned, tongue-in-cheek frivolity of “Getaway Car”, and the beautiful salutation to savouring the simple moments in life in, “Tumbling Sky”.

Carousel One album cover“Nothing Feels The Same Anymore”, is an introspective song, but humorous too. I had to be 50 to write that one…to have seen the changes I’ve seen. It stemmed from hearing these commercials today using songs to sell a product…as if that’s the only way we can vie for attention. It just made me wonder, what happened? There used to be a natural excitement to hear the artist’s material…it’s changed so much. I guess the modern world sometimes bothers me a little.”

The songs move through well-written, easy listening, and catchy melodies in genres of folk/rock and country, musical tangents of chord and rhythm surprises in every song, lovely layers of instruments, and lyrics based on anything that happens to catch his attention.

“The topics come from ideas I collect…you need a variety, and I try to honour every idea and give it the time of day. It seems silly, but suddenly it turns into something more than meets the eye…”

Toronto’s Ron Sexsmith and his band (Don Kerr – drums, Dave Matheson – keys, Kevin Lacroix – guitar, and Jason Mercer – bass) are making their way across Ontario, with the last stop at Ottawa’s NAC Southam Hall this Saturday as part of the NAC’s, Ontario Scene (29 Apr – 10 May), highlighting 600 Ontario artists in 90 events over the 10-day period.

Ron Sexsmith plays the National Arts Centre on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Alejandra Ribera opens the show. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased here. Show starts at 7:30. Carousel One is available on iTunes, Amazon, or at Ron Sexsmith’s web store.