It’s a troubling contradiction that today’s music business — ostensibly an industry of songs — could make a quality songwriter like Ron Sexsmith feel antiquated and out of place.
“I feel like a guy who’s making antique tables and chairs,” the Canadian musician tells EW. “I’ve always felt out of place or unfashionable ever since my first record came out.”
Nevertheless, Sexsmith is touring in support of his 14th studio record, 2015’s Carousel One. The record features Sexsmith’s creamy, sleepy Van Morrison-esque voice alongside elegant arrangements and intelligent songwriting.
“I’d love to hear a song from long ago,” Sexsmith sings on the contemplative and melancholy track “Nothing Feels the Same Anymore.” And that longing for times gone-by, and the pop music that defined those times, prevails throughout the record.
Ron Sexsmith has built a career writing slow-burners, and Carousel One is no different; it might take two or possibly three listens to find a song’s hook but, if patient, there’s always a pay-off.
“It’s basically a travelogue of the music that I love and the influences that are in my DNA,” Sexsmith says of Carousel One, listing songwriting influences like Johnny Mercer, Buddy Holly, Ray Davies and Randy Newman.
But if Sexsmith had to pick just one song to represent the record, he’d pick “Getaway Car.”
“I love rock ‘n’ roll music,” Sexsmith says. “A lot of music may rock but it doesn’t necessarily roll and [“Getaway Car”] seems to, at least to my ears. It was a fun song to record, and it’s even more fun to play live.”
Joining Sexsmith on his first time through Eugene is mysterious, Berlin-based indie folk singer Alice Phoebe Lou.
“I’ve never played Eugene before so hopefully at least two people show up!” Sexsmith jokes.
South Africa’s Alice Phoebe Lou joins Ron Sexsmith 8 pm Sunday, June 7, at WOW Hall; $17 adv., $20 door. All ages.