Ron Sexsmith

There's nothing angular in Ron Sexsmith's features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith's face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter's performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a voice, Sexsmith luxuriates in his songs' pervasive sense of melancholy.

Cast:
Band: Don Kerr, Tim Bovaconti, Maury LaFoy.

With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a voice, Sexsmith luxuriates in his songs’ pervasive sense of melancholy. Sexsmith often approaches Paul McCartney and Ray Davies in his ability to write memorable, emotionally complex pop tunes.

His new Steve Earle-produced album, “Blue Boy” (SpinArt/Cooking Vinyl), is a welcome push toward an edgier, ’60s pop-rock sound. But, at the Troubadour, that edge was blunted by Sexsmith’s limitations as a singer. Neither as acerbic as Elvis Costello nor as campily flamboyant as Rufus Wainwright, Sexsmith can’t, with his McCartneyesque croon, reach the depths of emotions his songs plumb. “Foolproof” is a beautifully constructed torch ballad that could easily have been sung by Frank Sinatra or Etta James, but Sexsmith’s rendition only hints at the lyrics’ vulnerability and irony. His version of the Kinks’ obscurity “Oklahoma USA” misses the original’s poignancy.

Although Sexsmith is charming and self-effacing onstage and given admirable support by a three-piece band, the hourlong set is like listening to an evening of songwriter’s demos.

But what songs! Newer material such as “Thirsty Love” has the soulful country swell of Dusty Springfield’s best; “Cheap Hotel” gives new life to the hoary cheater’s ballad; and older songs like “The Idiot Boy” and “Lebanon, Tennessee” overflowed with melodic and lyrical invention.

Ron Sexsmith

Troubadour; 450 capacity, $12.50

Production: Produced inhouse. Reviewed June 21, 2001.

Cast: Band: Don Kerr, Tim Bovaconti, Maury LaFoy.

More Music

  • Pink

    The Philadelphia Experiment: How Pink and Collaborator Billy Mann Forged a 15-Year Friendship

    With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a […]

  • Margo Price

    Album Review: Margo Price's 'All American Made'

    With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a […]

  • Concert Review: Haim Light Up L.A.'s

    Concert Review: Haim Light Up L.A.'s Greek Theatre With Homecoming Show

    With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a […]

  • Give Me Future

    Major Lazer Documentary About Historic Cuba Concert to Air on Apple Music

    With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a […]

  • Matt Mondanile Acknowledges ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ Toward

    Ex-Real Estate Guitarist Matt Mondanile Acknowledges ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ Toward Women

    With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a […]

  • Ed Sheeran

    Ed Sheeran Reveals Secret Struggle With Substance Abuse

    With his moon pie of a face and mop of curly hair, Ron Sexsmith is usually described as “cherubic.” There’s nothing angular in his features; like the remodeled Volkswagen Beetle, Sexsmith’s face is all soft curves and arches. That softness extends to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s performance: With his plummy melodies and Bavarian cream of a […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content