A smith of sex and words

By the release of his eighth album, Ron Sexsmith should be used to interviews. But at a press junket for his new album,

Time Being, Sexsmith looks anything but relaxed as he fidgets with his coffee mug and avoids eye contact. Then again, it could be the exhaustion from being in six different cities in seven days as part of his promotional tour. Regardless of his fatigue, Sexsmith is as polite as his music is good, which puts him on the level of a 16th-century gentleman.

Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Sexsmith is well on his way to becoming a Canadian music legend. Speaking softly, he’s down-to-earth and quick to shrug off compliments.

“I’m not like an innovator, I’m not somebody that’s changing the face of music,” Sexsmith argues. “Even if I was in my own little way, I don’t have that kind of following to change what happens in the world or what happens in the music world. But as a songwriter, I’d like to think I’m adding to the evolution of songs. Hopefully I’ll leave some behind that people will remember.”

Despite his initial shyness, Sexsmith can’t stop himself from speaking once the conversation turns to Canadian music.

“It’s funny,” he says. “It’s hip to be from Canada now. I sort of missed the boat on it, though. Now there’s Broken Social Scene, Feist and The Arcade Fire who are really great. But I’m not really part of that scene and I sort of wish I was.”

As much as Sexsmith denies being part of the new cool-kids club, he’s constantly recognized as a landmark on the Canadian scene and sought out for his skill.

“Some of the greatest songwriters of all time have come from Canada and some of the great bands too,” Sexsmith exclaims. “I’ve got a lot of heroes who have raised the bar for me, like Joni [Mitchell] and Leonard [Cohen]. The Canadian music scene has probably never been better. It’s very alive.”

Time Being proves Ron Sexsmith could be added to this list of great artists, establishing him as one of the most intriguing songwriters in the industry. Sexsmith has collaborated with artists such as Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Fountains of Wayne, and Don Kerr throughout his career and has become known for his songwriting above his other talents.

“I enjoy all parts of the music process, but the writing, that’s the most important part and the most challenging,” Sexsmith explains. “Songwriting’s a personal thing. I was kind of a loner as a kid and the thing that I loved most was music. Music was my friend and that’s where my loyalty is in life. Everyone could leave me, my family, my friends, but I’ll always have music.”

Ron Sexsmith’s new CD, Time Being, is available in music stores everywhere. Talk with other Ron fans, learn to play Ron’s songs, or ask Ron if he’s related to Sean Astin on his official forum www.ronsexsmith.com.

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