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- Posted on Feb 4th 2013 2:10PM by Jen Zoratti
Ron Sexsmith Facebook
The singer/songwriter could have played it safe and gone the same route with the follow-up but, when it came to recording the songs that make up his 13th studio album, Forever Endeavour, Sexsmith weighed his options.
"I had the songs, but I didn't know where to go with them," he tells Spinner. "I thought about working with Bob, but I didn't think these songs could withstand that kind of production."In the summer of 2011, Sexsmith ran into Mitchell Froom in Los Angeles. Froom had produced Sexsmith's first three studio albums and the two got to talking about working together again. Froom suggested string and woodwind arrangements.
"That interested me," he says. "I thought it might give it the vibe of an old singer/songwriter album, like what Neil Diamond would have done."
This particular collection of songs certainly benefited from a lighter hand. Forever Endeavour is quietly affecting -- and it's strikingly more downbeat than its predecessor. Sexsmith says the album's melancholia was dictated by the songs.
"It's always about the songs -- you don't get much say in the matter," he laughs. "It's whatever you're going through."
For Sexsmith, that included a health scare. In the summer of 2011, he detected a lump in his throat. A series of tests followed and waiting to hear the results put him in a reflective mood.
"It put me in a fog," he corrects with a laugh. "I wasn't panicking, but I was thinking about my options and it was uncertain. Was I going to be spending next year battling something? To be honest, I don't think I even told Mitchell. When I got the results, everything was fine."
Still, mortality was top of mind.
"As you get older and more of these things happen, you realize that it's always coming for us and that one day the news won't be good news," he says. "It's funny -- I had already snuck in some songs about death."
Indeed, Ron gets personal on Forever Endeavour. "Nowhere to Go," for one example, deals with a low professional period in which it looked like Long Player Late Bloomer wouldn't get released.
"When we'd finished Long Player Late Bloomer we'd had so much rejection, I felt like I couldn't do anything right," he says. "First I wasn't commercial enough, then I was too commercial."
Others are lighter. "Me, Myself and Wine" is an old-school country tune about settling in with a good album and a good vintage. It's a love letter to the record.
"My fans, they're like me. They like albums and they read the liner notes. You hear people say no one cares about albums, but people are buying them. When I think of my favorite albums, it's such a personal thing. You don't want to be talking over it; you want to sit down a take it in. It's like a book or a movie."
As far as albums go, Sexsmith is excited about Forever Endeavour. As it turns out, it's been a long time coming.
"Mitchell and I actually tried to make a record like this in 1999 with Whereabouts and I thought that album was a total disaster," he says. "It was overstuffed and I didn't sing as well. With this one, I feel like we finally made the album we set out to make. I think it's one of those albums that when I'm looking back at the end of the line, I'll remember it as one of the good ones."