Cooking Vinyl (label)
04 February 2013 (released)
09 February 2013
Nowhere To Go, the opening track of Ron Sexsmith's twelfth album begins with a gentle brass refrain over acoustic guitar that feels like a huge resigned sigh, as if in warning that the following forty minutes are not going to be easy. The opening lines of "I heard the thunder, so I braced for the rain" also point to some heavy weather on the way. Given that the singer suffered a health scare in 2011, when a lump was found in his throat, it is no surprise that Forever Endeavour is a more reflective affair than 2010's poppy and more instant Long Player Late Bloomer.
But this is not an album where Sexsmith feels sorry for himself. Quite the opposite in the case of the entrancing Me Myself And Wine, where the Canadian ruminates about the delights of relaxing on your own and listening to a record ("I'm raising a toast to my phonograph"), which turns out to be Don't Cry For Me Argentina. The overall feel is not one of melancholy but reflection – as highlighted by the cover photograph, where Sexsmith sits looking out of a window.
"Once a daydreamer...always a daydreamer" he says on Lost In Thought, and that captures perfectly the mood of Forever Endeavour. These are little vignettes, taking a sometimes nostalgic look at life. The likes of country stroll If Only Avenue and Blind Eye have delightful strings and horns that wash around you. The only downside is that sometimes the songs feel so delicate that it's as if Sexsmith is reluctant to let them out of his sight, and it takes time to feel like you have been let in.
The likes of Sneak Out The Back Door have a twinkle which is refreshing while She Does My Heart Good arrives with some good news, right after the solitude of My Myself And Wine. Sexsmith could walk down any UK street unnoticed and it's a crime that none of his singles has troubled charts or playlists in a major way here, yet he can still sell-out a night at London's Royal Albert Hall. Those loyal followers will no doubt find much to enjoy, but newcomers might be less easy to attract.