An obsession for music: Ron Sexsmith in concert

MORRISBURG – “I love music, I am obsessed by music. Certainly I always loved to sing, but when I was 21, I learned that I could also write, and composing became for me like a reason to live.”
One of Canada’s most iconic singer/songwriters, Ron Sexsmith, will headline, for one concert only, at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, April 22.

Members of the St. Lawrence board of directors are thrilled to welcome this renowned international artist to the Playhouse. He is an artist whose influence on the Canadian music scene has been recognized by three Junos and 12 albums to date.

“Ron has a huge following who are excited to see him perform the songs off his new album, The Last Rider, along with their old favourites,” said Sandra Whitworth, chair of the board. “This show is going to be a sellout.”

Ron Sexsmith’s music is original, utterly unique.

“I am a child of the 60s. I arrived at the tail end of that decade,” he explained, “but I have vivid memories. That whole point in time was magical and I truly think it is imprinted in my DNA. Certainly, the 60s music is a big influence on my writing.”

He admires the talent, and the sheer creativity that characterized the artists of the 60s. “Songs like ‘Witchita Lineman’, or some of the complex music of Chicago just couldn’t be written today.”

Over a career that began when he was in his teens, Ron has composed love songs, observational songs, sad songs, story songs, but each song, each composition, has been original. His will never be the kind of music that he dismisses as being “clubby and juvenile, as if it was written by a committee.”

“My music always comes from different places.

Maybe you’re older when you write a certain song, maybe you’re on the road, or sitting at home. I used to write just on the guitar, but then in 2005, I started writing on the piano.

All of these experiences and influences change the music.

When I wake up in the morning, a melody can be in my head. Ideas just seem to land at my doorstep, every day it seems.

Pretty soon I find myself in the middle of 15 or 20 songs and a new album is being born. Frankly, I love music more than anything, even more,” he added with a laugh, “than coffee.”

In September of this year, this musician, who maintains “I write constantly. I may not always record, but I will never stop writing,” is taking his writing passion in yet another new direction.

Ron Sexsmith is releasing a book, Deer Life, in the fall.

“This is a whole new experience for me,” he explained. “The idea came to me in 2012, but I didn’t expect to create a novel.”

He describes the book as a “fairy tale for children and for adults.” He admits that he already sees the possibility of the story being set to music. “I can see the characters breaking out into song. Still, we’ll wait and see.”

The Last Rider, Ron’s soon to be released new album, will actually be available for download at the Morrisburg concert.

“This album is the first with my new band,” Ron explained, “which naturally gives it a different vibe. The unifying thing is my voice. I write melodic music, and every album is different.

My favourite part of the whole concert experience is that moment when all the instruments are set up, the musicians gathered and waiting, and I just walk out on stage and start singing.

I am really looking forward to the Morrisburg concert, only the second show of our current tour.”

Opening for Ron Sexsmith Saturday night is a vibrant, passionate young singer, Sarah Beatty, who also has an exciting new album, Bandit Queen, just out. Bandit Queen shot to number one on Canada’s roots charts almost as soon as it was released.

“This new album was really intentional and conceptually driven. I take for granted my experiences, the experiences of other women and the importance of sharing our stories. I wanted to shine a light on some of the things that don’t always get to see the light of day.”

Sarah’s is a powerful and expressive voice, which once heard, is hard to forget.

“I have a quote from Mark Twain where he advises not to worry about making yourself feel good, but to try and make someone else feel good. (Music) is the path through a lot of challenges and a way to celebrate the greatest joys of our lives. I’m calling to everyone in earshot, myself included, to revel in life’s offerings and hang in there when the going gets tough.”

Joining the SLAS at the spectacular Ron Sexsmith concert will be volunteers from the Morrisburg Scotiabank.

Scotiabank employees, for the third year running, have chosen to come out in support of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, a not for profit organization, by accepting donations to the Stage at the April 22 concert (giving a tax receipt for gifts over $20) and matching those funds.

The efforts of Scotiabank and the support of concert goers and music lovers is a crucial part of the SLAS fundraising efforts each year and help the board bring fantastic talent right to this area.