Carousel One

(Compass/Warner Music Canada)

At a time when new music is computerized, digitized and streamed to numerous electronic sources, Ron Sexsmith is definitely old school. The veteran St Catherines Ontario native still believes in writing and recording large amounts of new music as this 14-track effort on Carousel One would attest (16 tracks if you also count the two bonus songs on the CD). Having now chalked up 14 recordings since 1991 and having contributed on 11 other albums, Sexsmith, it seems, writes songs in his sleep. Yet despite being such a prodigious writer, his image appears to be lodged in an easy-listening, singer-songwriter vein which rarely receives mainstream attention. Carousel One is atypical of the recording Sexmith continues to create, lots of solid mid-tempo tunes, fairly sparse arrangements, decent but monotone vocals sparking songs which at times seem repetitive. There’s no doubting Sexsmith’s  talent and some of the best in the business have sung his praises, yet the end result is that his  body of work rarely receives critical attention. A shame really but he is one of those artists who is hard to define. Certainly Sexsmith attracts solid studio musicians and a top producer in Jim Scott but he seems to thrive more having his songs covered by other artists or himself appearing on other performer’s records – writing for others is probably his strong point.

Download: `Saint Bernard’, `Lord Knows’, `Sure As The Sky’.

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