I have not written a music review for several years. In fact the last one was for a Justin Townes Earle album called Harlem River Blues in Rob Ellen’s Flyinshoes magazine way back in 2010! Over 5 years ago! The review can be read here : http://flyinshoes.ning.com/profiles/blogs/justin-townes-earle-harlem
I finally felt inspired to write again following a quite superb performance at the Glee Club, discount Nottingham by Ron Sexsmith on Monday last. I last saw Ron and a trio at the South Bank Centre way back in 1997. This would have been after the first two albums were released ( three if count the rare first album Grand Opera Lane which I have never heard). For me it the glorious self-titled second album which brought him to my attention and I have collected and followed his work ever since. His most recent release on Cooking Vinyl ‘Carousel One’ is very good and I actually bought on vinyl which a first time I seen any of his releases in that format. I had all his records apart from ‘Retriever’up until a couple of months after writing this original blog post when it appeared for 50p in a local charity shop:-).
Those two early albums are as good a template for a budding songwriter as any. My particular faves are ‘Lebanon, generic Tennessee’, treat ‘Secret Heart’, ‘Strawberry Blonde’ and ‘Nothing Good’..the list goes on hardly a duff track on either record. I remember the performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as being exemplary. After that I always managed to be on holiday or to miss Ron as he played be it in Nottingham or Oxford. Finally last Monday I managed to catch up..I was not disappointed. His hour and a half set was superb despite a couple of rusty glitches for which he apologised. The sound was excellent and he delivered an impressive selection of tracks from over his career even asking for audience suggestions. Stand-out moments included a fabulous version of Lebanon Tennessee and a couple of tracks from Retriever – ‘From Now On’ and ‘Dandelion Wine’ I think both superb and I will seek out the ‘missing’ disc. Along the way he also sang ‘Gold in them hills’ off of Cobblestone Runway. ‘Cheap Hotel’ and ‘Thumbelina Farewell’ off of Blue Boy. ‘Snow Angel’, ‘Talking with the Angel’…..plus a smattering of more recent tracks..’Late Bloomer’ off disc of same name…’Getaway Car’ and ‘Saint Bernard’ and ‘Before the light is gone’ off new disc…all wonderful songs.
I have seen some wonderful solo songwriter performances over the years. Justin Townes Earle and Andrew Coombs were superb in the same venue last year but this was an extraordinary show. I cannot imagine many songwriters with such a consistent back catalogue who could draw on every one of the 14 or so albums he has recorded. I recommend the new album and if you not discovered the delights of Ron Sexsmith check out any part of that back catalogue here : http://www.discogs.com/artist/114679-Ron-Sexsmith
Here the cover of latest album.
Late Bloomer indeed…