Sunday, February 19, 2012
Ron Sexsmith - My Snuggie
Yup, you read that correctly folks, I've just compared my favourite musician to a big ol' warm fleece throw. I should state for the record that although I do own all of Ron's albums, I don't own a Snuggie. However, I do have a fleece Bay blanket, and although it lacks the convenience of sleeves, (so indeed my arms are trapped - tis the cross that I must bear), it still provides me with the same kind of warmth that Ron's music gives me.
That is an extremely simple comparison, but a fairly accurate one when you get right down to it, the most basic reason that he's won the spot of my favourite is - Ron's music makes me feel warm and good. If I'm Linus, he's definitely my security blanket.
Even though I'm a fan of his music, I must admit, I find it hard to describe, I often think that if you put Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and The Beatles in a mixer you might end up with an idea of what Ron's sound is like.
There's something almost mystical about his music, now don't go getting all these images of unicorns and fairies in your head because that's not what I mean. I mean there is a certain quality to his music, that I don't think anyone really understands until they get his music. And I do me 'get', it seems as if you almost have to be at a certain point in your own life to have this music affect you, if you listen to his music and think, 'yeah, I like that, it's pretty good'....then you're not fully ready. Like Daniel LaRusso, when he discovers what 'wax on, wax off' really means, you'll know when you've had your moment of discovery because you'll go from, 'yeah, that's pretty good' to 'I must own ALL of his music!'
It's a strange phenomenon that makes even the most conservative person, giddy with joy to collect and then share his music, like you've been sent on some mission. Suddenly you're transformed into Marvin the Martian and it's your job to bring more people to your leader aka Ron Sexsmith. Beyond feeling this sensation myself, it's hard to fully understand it, until you become one - deep huh.
In my opinion he truly is one of the finest songwriters walking this big ol' planet we call Earth, albums jammed full of lyrics that are quietly brilliant.
His words are definitely a pretty clear window into his soul, he puts his emotions out there for all to see, sad, happy, heartbreaking, lonely, hopeful, hurt, regret, guilt, sorrow, gratitude - they're all there and many more too. He is about as honest of a songwriter as you'll find, not many people will sing about their own personal shortcomings, without having some kind of gloss over factor, this kind of honesty is a rare and wonderful gift. A gift to the listener who is reminded, that indeed, someone else feels what you're feeling. That we're all just stumbling through life doing the best we can, you fall, you get up and you try again.
Combine beautiful lyrics, gorgeous music and a voice that grabs your heart and the result is the most intoxicating cocktail!
If that wasn't reason enough to dig the man, let me give you another...he is about as humble as they come. I've got a pretty low tolerance for BS in general, so 'sun glasses' rock stars with 'their people' all around them, kinda gets up my nose at the best of times, what makes matters worse is, often the ones who play the 'part' have very little real talent to speak of - I'm assuming it's their way to compensate. Ron has definitely got the goods to back it up if he was even a smidgen pretentious about his talent, but that's just not how he rolls - which is greatly appreciated by his fans. Ron is also incredibly generous with his fans, signing autographs, doing song requests at times (was nice enough to do that twice for my kids) or even having a chat after the show. All of this things are pretty unheard of in 'mainstream' music.
Why does his fame not measure up with his talent? Well in some ways, I think it depends of your definition of fame is. If fame was purely based on talent, then he'd be on the top and a massive line of others would be handing in their fame tiaras right now.
He does have a whole host of mega famous fans - though I'm not going to list them, as it seems everything written about Mr. Sexsmith has to be followed by a list famous folks that dig him and it's a good list of some fine people, don't get me wrong, but I have a different kind of list to share with you, because as much as the list of famous folks may help to reinforce in someones mind why they need to check out Ron's music, there's an equally strong force of non-famous people who wave their pom-poms and sing his praises, every chance they get.
People like Ian, Jerry, Mark, Martha (I'm with the band), Evey (I'm with the fam), Roisin, Catriona, Beth, Laurie, Patricia, Colleen (I'm with the dude), Lisa, Marjolijn, Kerry, Anne, David, Iris, Mary, Chris, Marie-Claire, Violeta, Marty, Pauline, Laurent, Paul, Andrew, Steve, Cathy and the list goes on and on....but like Santa's list, if you don't see your name, don't despair, we know you're out there! All of these fans create what I like to think of as a kinder, gentler KISS Army type of following - maybe more like Ron's Brigade, just as steadfast in our devotion and ready to recruit new members at every opportunity.
Having a lot of money in your bank account obviously has it's perks, like being able to eat and other important stuff like that but at the end of the day, if a musician had to choose his legacy, I'd much rather say, I touched the hearts and soothed the soul of thousands and will continue to do so for generations to come, than my claim to fame being, I moved the hips of millions for a few moments in time, only to then fade in the sunset never to be heard of again.
So if you measure fame in devotion and not dollars, then indeed I'd call Ron a very rich and famous man.
During one of his last gigs in Vancouver I noticed something rather strange and in a way, very fitting. As Ron and his amazing band played, I felt myself taken by the shadows that were being cast on the wall, so much so that I spent a great deal of time watching them. Ron's shadow was about twice the size of those of his bandmates, some may say, it's just a coincidence of how the lighting was set up, but I wonder if lighting really played into it at all, it just seemed to represent how this humble man, hasn't yet realized how big he really is.
There you have it, my ode to Ron. It has to be said, I'm a music fan of varied taste. But just as I love to travel and experience other places and cultures, I always get a great sense of peace when arriving back to Vancouver, seeing those mountains, I know I'm home. That is the same feeling I get when I put on Ron's music, I may listen to many styles of music, many other artists, but when I put on Ron, I feel like I've come home.
Home sweet home.