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Grand Opera Lane

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Album Review

Released independently with his backing band, the Uncool, Ron Sexsmith's re-released debut album is a bit more of a rock effort than the pop-folk albums he later created. "In This Love" has a definitive acoustic or alternative country tinge to it in the vein of Blue Rodeo. Backed by Don Kerr and Steve Charles on harmony vocals, the tune has a soulful touch to it despite Sexsmith at times over-exerting his vocals during the bridge. Equally vital is the horn section, providing a Dave Matthews quality to the proceedings. "Spending Money" is a funky pop track showcasing the musician's simple yet descriptive narratives. The arrangement is a bit simplistic, though. One trait that is shown early on is Sexsmith's consistent soulful delivery, like a latter-day Motown album. "Don't Mind Losing" moves toward the country-soul party music of the Mavericks, featuring more horns. "Tell You" is perhaps the album's shining moment, a lovable acoustic track that adds harmonies before Bob Wiseman's organ kicks in. "Gonna Get What's Mine" is a blending of rockabilly and bluegrass with mixed results at best. Also included on the album is the original recording of "Speaking With the Angels," a track later issued on Sexsmith's 1995 self-titled album. Although similar in its tone, the singer opts for more of a Bob Dylan style in his delivery. The relaxing country touches on "Every Word of It" are the seeds of future projects, despite the music's tone. "Trains" is another shining moment, a sparse number featuring just acoustic guitar and Sexsmith's fragile singer/songwriter voice. It all ends with "The Laughing Crowd," another hint at what was to come in future albums that is standard melodic pop in under three minutes.

Biography

Born: 08 January 1964 in St. Catharine's, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The earnest work of boyish Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith won acclaim not from only critics but from fellow performers like Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, and John Hiatt — some of the same artists, ironically enough, who initially inspired Sexsmith himself to become a musician. Born in 1964 and raised in the Niagara Falls area, he started his first band at the age of 14, and within a few years earned his first regular gig at an area club. Influenced by Pete Seeger, he began making...
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Grand Opera Lane, Ron Sexsmith
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