May. 09, 2012 - Issue #864: The Barbecutionist
Fri, May 11 (7 pm) | Royal Alberta Museum Theatre
Taking a chance paid off for Ron Sexsmith on his 11th album, Long Player, Late Bloomer.
After 2008's Exit Strategy of the Soul failed to bring in successful results, Sexsmith lost some of his confidence and admits he fell into a funk. Instead of giving up, he decided to go out on a limb and approach award-winning producer Bob Rock, whose industry credits tend to be on the heavier side, with bands like Metallica, Mötley Crüe and the Cult.
"I was at a point in my career where I felt the previous two or three records seemed to have come out and died," Sexsmith recalls. "I don't really know what I was looking for, something that was more focused, and Bob brought all that experience that he has, and he's a great musician. I felt like I was in good hands."
The pair became quite close over the five-week recording process, and while Sexsmith was proud of his less commercially successful releases, Long Player, Late Bloomer is one he's truly excited about and feels has re-energized his career.
So far, the record has been quite successful from a commercial standpoint, despite receiving little airplay at home in Canada. It's also helped him regain his confidence onstage. Sexsmith is entering the last leg of his tour for Long Player, Late Bloomer with a new confidence as opposed to his previous tours, where he could barely open his eyes onstage.
"I had my band, all of those things that help me when I was out onstage, make me feel like a rockstar or something, which sounds kind of frivolous, but that's the way you want to feel onstage," he adds.
Writing the songs for this album also provided an outlet for the mindset Sexsmith was in. He and his wife had gone on a trip to New Mexico, where she rented him a guitar and the words began to flow. He describes the resulting lyrics as being a tad grumpy in some cases, but humourosly so. They became fun songs for him to write, but the mood is interspersed with love songs and result in an album he's dubbed his "action movie."
"It's like the whole sound of it, it's like a big blockbuster," he notes. "I think records are a lot like movies, because you try to make a cohesive record that has a sound to it and I think I've been making records that were like European films or something."
Once the tour wraps, Sexsmith plans to focus on finishing up his new album, due out next year. This time, he teamed up with Mitchell Froom, who produced his earlier releases. Sexsmith says the songs are night and day, reflecting a new mindset and new direction.
Fri, May 11 (7 pm)
With Jeff Stuart & the Hearts
Royal Alberta Museum Theatre, $26
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