Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Songs That Sold Sexsmith

It's usually pretty entertaining to listen to the recordings assembled at the beginning of artists' careers to shop around to labels. In the case of Ron Sexsmith, when I listen to his earliest work, I hear nothing but a polished singer-songwriter ready for all of the accolades about to be bestowed upon him.

It took three years and much help from fellow Canadian and Blue Rodeo member Bob Wiseman, but the 11 songs that would make up 'Grand Opera Lane' finally surfaced as a cassette in 1991. There were rejections, but the folks at Interscope in Los Angeles signed Sexsmith about a year later. As Sexsmith explains, this group of songs was more "rocknroll" than the Interscope albums he would go on to do with producer Mitchell Froom, but you can hear quite a bit of his patented melancholy mood, too. In fact, I have read his early take of "Speaking With the Angel" (which would pop up again on his first album for Interscope) was the song that really sold the bigwigs. Let's listen to that 'Grand Opera Lane' version, along with my favorite upbeat number.

It looks like this album is physically out of print, but you can still purchase it as a digital download in many places, including Amazon. If you're a fan, I think you'll find it's worth the effort.

Ron Sexsmith and the Uncool - Don't Mind Losing (mp3)
Ron Sexsmith and the Uncool - Speaking With the Angel (mp3)

Calling all Nick Hornby fans! I know this is completely unrelated, but, if you get the chance, the writer has as an essay on Britain and the Olympics in today's Wall Street Journal you will want to read.

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