Release Date: Jul 8, 2008
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Although Ron Sexsmith is known as a singer/songwriter, he’s always selling himself short by making songwriter albums. Somehow, plonking out his newest compositions on piano on Exit Strategy Of The Soul (out July 1) instead of acoustic guitar seems to have activated his dormant singer side. It’s just one of several decisions that’s paid off. The other brilliant move was producer Martin Terefe’s idea of going to Havana to dub on a Cuban brass section trying to fake Memphis Horns-?style head riffs.
Ron Sexsmith's musical demeanor seems so typical of the modesty common to his native Canada that the notion of him recording with a handful of Cuban jazz musicians sounds almost freakish. Would Sexsmith melt when he came in contact with the heat of the Latin players, or would he transform them into quiet, contemplative types pondering love and life over coffee and Tim Horton's doughnuts? Sexsmith's tenth album, Exit Strategy of the Soul, was produced by Martin Terefe, who after recording basic tracks got the idea of flying to Cuba to add additional horns and percussion courtesy of arranger Joaquin Betancourt and musicians Amaury Perez (trombone) and Alexander Abreu (trumpet). The results don't sound at all like jazz, but the soulful side that's often lurked under the surface of Sexsmith's music rises to the surface on tunes like "Music to My Ears" and "Last Round"; no, Sexsmith hasn't been transformed into Wilson Pickett, but there is a light R&B accent in these numbers that surprisingly suits him well, and he sounds comfortable and expressive in these surroundings.
The cherubic-cheeked Sexsmith has chosen a hoity-toity title for his 10th solo album; one that speaks volumes about the lot of the singer-singwriter who has never made it to the mainstream. His struggle is a pity. His Canadian burr has a welcoming fug to it, like a strong, warming whisky, and this collection of 14 soft, catchy soul songs of a 1970s vintage, pepped up with piano and brass, have moments that shake and swing.