Album Reviews

Ron Sexsmith

The Last Rider

Artist:     Ron Sexsmith

Album:     The Last Rider

Label:     Compass Records

Release Date:     04.21.2017

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An earnest troubadour, Ron Sexsmith has regularly received acclaim for his catalogue, and with his 14th release The Last Rider, Sexsmith once again provides a thoughtful collection of tracks that reach back into the sounds of ’60s pop. The Last Rider may not be Sexsmith’s ultimate nod to his formative years in radio gold, but is certainly is one of his most comprehensive to date. Thoughtful, stirring, and at times cerebral, Sexsmith’s latest finds the Canadian songwriter indulging in an wealth of solace.

Sexsmith’s usual hangdog demeanor is replaced with a more virile salute to his 20-plus years on record, replete with the ever-present slide guitar and blossoms of British Invasion strings. A Top-40 blistering optimism has found its way into Sexsmith’s work, his regular philosophic mores complimenting a more lighthearted fare.  In particular, “Breakfast Ethereal” sounds as if it were his 1966 debut, complete with purposely kitschy strings and mod drums fills a-plenty.

One has some trouble figuring if Sexsmith becomes more Lennon-McCartney (or Costello-McCartney) with each record, or whether Sexsmith is simply that radical of a songwriter. “Radio” is the same level of frenzied introspection looming over media obsession that one might have found on a Younger Than Yesterday cutting room floor take.

The Last Rider is much more than a tribute, it’s another splendid offering from one of our most talented songwriters who deals in absolutes. Sexsmith has fully committed to yet another venture through the past, a voyage entirely work embarking upon.

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