This past Friday, Ron Sexsmith played the final show of the worldwide tour he’s been on since last April to an exuberant crowd at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (FOPAC).
Sexsmith, who hails from St. Catharines and is an honourary Brock graduate, was welcomed to Partridge Hall with open arms. The crowd continually yelled requests from their seats, providing whoops and cheers each time Sexsmith reminisced about his time growing up in St. Catharines.
“I’m a real homebody, so my favourite thing is just to stay home,” said Sexsmith. “But this job I have, I can’t do from my living room. So it’s been a nice balance, of home and touring life.”
Since his first album, Grand Opera Lane (1991), and onwards toward his 14th and most recent album, Carousel One (2015), Sexsmith has been a heavy presence on tour, in between music writing sessions that include crafting melodic gems for both himself and other artists.
Being such an admired and loved Canadian artist has brought Sexsmith and his band all over the world to perform in venues for all kinds of people, which is one of the biggest blessings and showings of love an artist can receive back from fans.
“The best part of touring is being with my band mostly,” said Sexsmith. “And I love hotel rooms. It’s nice to see all the different kinds of architecture and ways of life – people are always happy that you’ve made the effort to go there.”
While Sexsmith has never gotten the opportunity to play in bigger arenas that can house tens of thousands of people, the size of his touring venues is no indication of the vastness of his musical talent and career. He has put out albums chock full of self-written songs almost every year since his debut in 1991, and if the energy level when he performed in Partridge Hall on Friday was any measure, fans love each and every song.
“My career never really got to the arena stage, but I like playing small theaters the best anyway,” said Sexsmith.
His newest album, Carousel One, has been reviewed as being more content and happy than his previous few, but Sexsmith says the vibe of the album was one that came organically, a process he happily welcomes when writing.
“It just sort of happened naturally,” said Sexsmith. “I’m pretty content most of the time but I think I got tagged early on in my career as being melancholy, which has never been that accurate. So I didn’t really have any particular message [with Carousel One]. Every record is just about the songs and where my head’s at.”
In terms of some of his favourite songs on the album, Sexsmith said he really enjoys “Sure As The Sky”, “Before The Light Is Gone”, and “Getaway Car”, but notes that all the songs are his babies, which makes it hard to pick set favourites.
After a long year of touring, Sexsmith finally closed out a successful tour in his hometown, and mentioned multiple times during the show how wonderful the new FOPAC facilities were. Fans ate him up on stage, and one quick look around the hall exhibited a large number of head bobs and claps, as audience members closed their eyes and swayed to the crooner’s music.
“The tour has been great. We’ve been all around the world and so it’s nice to bring it back home,” said Sexsmith.
All in all, Sexsmith is happy with the tour and how it went, and is happy to have a little break, but given his track record in the music industry, I’m sure it won’t be long before we get a new album and, perhaps even a new tour from Sexsmith.
To learn more about Ron and his music, visit ronsexsmith.com.
Assistant Arts & Culture Editor