Ron Sexsmith's new release on Compass Records, Carousel One, is the cherished Canadian crooner's first album in two years. It finds Sexsmith in surprising territory for a man often pegged as a downbeat balladeer: he's actually contented.
The 16-track album is a warm, deeply involving set of songs that showcases Sexsmith's great empathy and occasional sentimentality, but also his often-overlooked playfulness. Carousel One (named for the luggage retrieval belt at Los Angeles airport where bags off Toronto flights are delivered) is probably the most diverse album of Sexsmith’s nearly 20-year solo career.
Songs like “No One” came from the idea of attempting to write in the vein of Roger Miller. Opening track “Sure As The Sky” originated as a folky campfire song but it turned into more of a folk/rock number.
Producer Jim Scott assembled a seasoned band to play on the album: bass player Bob Glaub (John Lennon, Lucinda Williams, Graham Nash); guitarist Jon Graboff (John Lee Hooker, Dr John); drummer Don Heffington (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris); and keyboard player John Ginty (Neal Casal, Matthew Sweet).
Ron has been a critical success since his self-titled debut back in 1995, an album that won the admiration of songwriters such as Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. Carousel One glides into 2015 with the poignancy and craft that has come to be expected of Ron ever since then.
“Sexsmith has proven himself a storyteller and musician worthy of the praise he’s received.” —Paste
“Sexsmith’s voice, a potent mélange of Jackson Browne, Tim Hardin and John Hiatt, ekes out every last nuance of melody, but with a seamless, almost conversational effortlessness.” —David Sheppard, BBC
“Sexsmith confirms his place as artist’s favourite.” —Q Magazine
“Makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet.” —NPR All Things Considered
“His best compositions [have] the feel of timelessness…” —AllMusic