Canadian singer songwriter Ron Sexsmith will be making a stop at the Moncton Capitol Theatre during his most recent tour Long Player, Late Bloomer, on February 4 at 8 pm. Tickets are currently on sale in the Greater Moncton ticketing Network. Nova Scotia’s Mo Kenney will be the opening act.
A singer-songwriter acclaimed by a galaxy of artists from Bob Dylan to Elton John, Chris Martin to Michael Bublé, Steve Earle to Lucinda Williams for his insight into the human heart and a melodic purity (to paraphrase admirer Elvis Costello) unheard since the heyday of Paul McCartney, you’ll find Ron straight after the Sex Pistols in any self-respecting encyclopedia of modern music.
Born in 1964, Ron grew up in St Catharines, Ontario. A daydreamer at school, he was selected for a creative writing class and in his high school band he played lead guitar. Ray Davies was Ron’s first and most enduring songwriting inspiration. As a singer, Ron admires Harry Nilsson, Bing Crosby, Bill Withers and Charlie Rich, and places himself in that crooner tradition.
Moving to Toronto, Ron formed a band called The Uncool, and released a cassette, Out Of The Duff. To support himself, Ron got a job as a foot courier, as recalled on the Long Player Late Bloomer song “Michael And His Dad”. In 1991, the limited cassette release Grand Opera Lane, an album recorded with the drummer of his Toronto band The Uncool, first attracted Interscope’s interest. Four years later, the label recognized that not only had they a great songwriter on their books but a singer and guitarist of rare accomplishment too. Ron Sexsmith’s 1995 self-titled “proper” debut, produced by Mitchell Froom, represented the cream of nearly 200 songs that had been road-tested for years in the bars of Ontario and was acclaimed by fans from Elvis Costello down as an instant classic, with Rod Stewart one of several artists to cover the first song, “Secret Heart”.
What has followed is a body of work that very few songwriting recording artists, living or dead, can match for consistently sky-high quality. As legendary record producer to artists from Dylan to U2, Daniel Lanois, told Love Shines, the documentary about the making of Ron’s new album, Long Player Late Bloomer, “Not a lot of people have Ron’s gift: the ability to see a tiny snapshot of a feeling, then expand upon it and deliver a beautiful song. The songs are like Polaroids.” He has released a total of 12 albums in his career.
Among the artists who have covered Ron’s songs are: Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, k.d. lang, Nick Lowe, Feist, The Brodsky Quartet, Curtis Stigers, Anne Sofie von Otter and Mary Black. It’s a mighty portfolio, one that seemed to finally be validated in 2005 when he won the coveted Juno Award as Songwriter of the Year.
For his 11th album, Long Player Late Bloomer, the award-winning troubadour has paired himself with a fellow Canadian, the producer of bone-crunching classics by Metallica, Mötley Crüe and The Cult: Bob Rock. On June 16, the album was named as a longlisted nominee (one of 40) for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. On July 6, the album was named as a shortlisted (one of 10) nominee for the 2011 award.
Opening Act: Mo Kenney
As a 20 year-old singer-songwriter from Waverley, Nova Scotia, Mo Kenney is already captivating audiences with thoughtful lyrics, an inviting and distinctive voice, and strong, compelling guitar work. Mo was drawn to music as a child, and after taking lessons at The Halifax Conservatory, a songwriting career was born. When not playing in the high school band Berends Page, Mo was practicing guitar, drums, piano or bass. Mo freely confesses that their early solo recordings at Catfish studio in Bedford “sucked”, but the experience of spending time in the studio and making music further solidified for Mo what the future must hold.
In the summer of 2010, Mo was chosen as one of seven young writers invited to attend Gordie Sampson’s inaugural Songwriter Camp in Ingonish to write songs and perform at a Songwriter Circle with Gordie and Steve MacDougall (Slowcoaster). Next came the attention of artist and producer Joel Plaskett, then opening spots for The Crash Test Dummies and Steve Poltz intrigued not only audiences, but the headlining artists themselves. Mo’s record is being produced by Plaskett and will be released on New Scotland Records in 2012.
Tickets for the Ron Sexsmith concert at the Capitol Theatre are now on sale at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, l’Escaouette, Frank’s Music, Monument Lefebvre, Dieppe Arts and Culture Centre, and l’Université de Moncton, at $24.50 and $20.50 plus applicable charges. Tickets are also available by phone at 506-856-4379 or 1-800-567-1922, or online at www.capitol.nb.ca.