The likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies, Keane’s Tom Chapin and Michael Bublé have all endorsed the Canadian’s talents at some time or other since he released his debut ‘proper’ album 28 years ago.
Bob Dylan played Raindrops in My Coffee from the 2005 CD, Destination Unknown, on his Theme Time Radio Hour show. Now a three time, Juno award winning singer-songwriter, Ron Sexsmith’s early days in the 90s included a memorable night at the Boardwalk in Sheffield city centre - when the ceiling collapsed because of a water leak and the audience had to cram into the much smaller space below of Under The Boardwalk! There have been appearances at the Memorial Hall, The Foundry and the 02 Academy, and on Saturday May 13 he will be adding the Upper Chapel in Norfolk Street (near the Crucible) to the list.
Performing on guitar and piano, he will no doubt be featuring tracks from his 17th studio release, The Vivian Line.
It’s another collection of fine – often gentle and melancholy – songs defined from time to time by a McCartneyesque gorgeous melody.
Born in Ontario, he was influenced by tunesmiths of the calibre of Buddy Holly and Elton John as he listened to the radio and his mum’s record collection. His first album was on cassette in 1991, moving up the gears four years later with an eponymous release on a major label.
While major stardom may always have seemed just around the corner, his reputation among a significant group of knowing fans and as a songwriter’s songwriter remains undiminished. His songs have been recorded by Michael Bublé, Emmylou Harris, kd lang, Rod Stewart, Katie Melua and Mary Black, among others.
In some ways, Ron Sexsmith takes an old school approach to the craft of writing and singing.
Maybe it’s reflected in a lifestyle that has seen him declaring that he doesn’t have a cell phone, he still mostly listens to vinyl records and he doesn’t drive.
As long as he gets safely to Sheffield on May 13.