RETRIEVER (Nettwerk) Ron Sexsmith
This man holds more beauty in a joint of his finger than many musicians ever produce. His uncanny and endless reservoir of melody continues to dazzle. On Retriever there is the added magic of everything coming together at a new and more realized level.
The music of Ron Sexsmith is so classic and simultaneously so malleable that his records are inevitably and organically producer- driven, and works of true alchemy between the players, the artist, and the producer. This London outing seems particularly harmonious, there's a lot of joy in these tracks, to my ears. Perhaps in Martin Terefe (who also produced Cobblestone Runway, see our review) Ron has found someone he wants to develop with over time. In the liner notes, the artist gives "Enormous praise to Martin Terefe for another fine studio experience." On top of a joyous and loose but cogent production, Terefe plays beautifully throughout: a handful of bass tracks, seven electric guitar tracks, and some acoustic and background vocals, plus piano and toy organ.
My ears are so happy to have this music flowing through these fancy headphones, it's so consistently enjoyable--every song, in fact. Time after time, I'm just taken back by how masterfully Ron crafts and captures some of the most beautiful pop music of our time. And it's a crime how little fame and fortune have come the way of this consummate artist. A big cult following, sure, a glowing reputation, especially among the cognoscenti, that's all true. But more is due, and I still think it's coming. Retriever is very promising in that regard, there's something less precious about it that bodes well for a long-deserved wider acceptance.
The lyrics are terrific on this record, poetic and still hard hitting, and rooted in the world. His ballad of compassion, "For the Driver," is a wonderful look at the artist as a person, and speaks volumes.
I feel that I will never be able to say enough good things about the music of Ron Sexsmith, because it's meant such a great deal to me personally. But I will continue trying. By any and all means, buy this great record, and convince yourself here, on the Listen page. FG