Ron Sexsmith, Long Player Late Bloomer

Ian Gittins

By Ian Gittins

on 02.23.11 in Reviews
Sexsmith remains a master of winsome, heartfelt regret

Bob Rock is discovering a love for soft rock in his old age. The iconic studio guru famous for producing classic metal albums for Aerosmith, Motley Crüe and Metallica also helmed Michael Bublé's last offering and now bestows his skills upon a similarly mellow artist: his fellow Canadian, Ron Sexsmith. The results, in truth, are engaging but not staggering. Sexsmith has long garnered complimentary notices from the likes of Elton John, Paul McCartney and even Bob Dylan while rarely threatening to translate such superstar endorsements into mainstream success, and while Rock's famously open-handed production certainly renders Long Player Late Bloomer accessible, the laconic songs it showcases are simply too low-key to impact on commercial radio. This doesn't mean it's not a polished, well-crafted record: Sexsmith's melancholic mid-paced country-rock anthems chug along with style and aplomb, and lyrically he remains a master of winsome, heartfelt regret. "Get In Line" is as likely to appeal to fans of Kenny Rogers as those of Willie Nelson, while "No Help At All" and "Every Time I Follow" hit an exquisite chord of mid-life existential self-doubt. Long Player Late Bloomer is unlikely to catapult Ron Sexsmith to the same level as his A-list admirers but his loyal fanbase will lap it up.