Ron Sexsmith: The Last Rider
Another great LP by the Canadian songsmith. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews.
This latest offering by Ron Sexsmith sees him collaborate with the musicians that have been backing him on his tours for the past decade (Jason Mercer (Bass), Dave Matheson (Keyboards) and Kevin Lacroix (Guitar)). Sexsmith for most of his career has been giving the reigns to the producers to recruit the players for his albums.
On “The Last Rider” (Christians will appreciate the play on words) , he shares the production duties with his longtime drummer and sometimes songwriting partner Don Kerr. There is no major departures stylistically on this record compared to Ron’s discography, the only surprise being that the record is probably one of the Canadian’s slickest in term of arrangements, sometimes sounding almost AOR compared to his two previous LP’S (“Carousel One” and “Forever Endeavour”). With Sexsmith and Kerr at the helm, you would have thought a “back to basics” approach would have been on the cards but it is the exact opposite. The lush strings of “Breakfast Ethereal” sit comfortably against the very Jeff Lynne-ish “Evergreen” while the nursery rhyme of “Our Way” channels “Something Else” era Kinks.
Sexsmith wheels one luminous pop songs after the other (“West Gwillimbury” with its clever middle eight being one of the albums high points) while some other songs are typically Sexsmith in their shape and singing (“Worried Song”). The album avoids the trappings of including too many tracks like its “Carousel One”, at fifteen songs it doesn’t overstay its welcome. “Shoreline” and “Who We Are Right Now” showcase the Canadian’s songwriting at its slickest proving that given the correct promotional push, he could make it to the big league. Sure he hasn’t got Michael Bubble’s looks and dance moves but he more than makes up for it in his ability to craft great songs.
All words by Craig Chaligne. More from Craig can be found at his Author Archive