Cobblestone Runway/Grand Opera Lane

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
For most of his career, Ron Sexsmith has played the role of wallflower: the sensitive guy whispering sweet nothings that waft gently outward from the solitude of his bedroom. On his latest effort, however, Sexsmith has apparently laid in a supply of Wellbutrin -- or, at the very least, a handful of techno compilations. While the crux of his songcraft -- a pastoral, troubadour-like sense of folksiness -- remains unchanged, Sexsmith wraps many of these songs, most notably the surprisingly pulsing "Dragonfly on Bay Street," in electronic trappings. The resultant sound isn't all that far from recent efforts by, say, Beth Orton (who'd do well to try her hand on a cover of ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
For most of his career, Ron Sexsmith has played the role of wallflower: the sensitive guy whispering sweet nothings that waft gently outward from the solitude of his bedroom. On his latest effort, however, Sexsmith has apparently laid in a supply of Wellbutrin -- or, at the very least, a handful of techno compilations. While the crux of his songcraft -- a pastoral, troubadour-like sense of folksiness -- remains unchanged, Sexsmith wraps many of these songs, most notably the surprisingly pulsing "Dragonfly on Bay Street," in electronic trappings. The resultant sound isn't all that far from recent efforts by, say, Beth Orton (who'd do well to try her hand on a cover of the windswept "Former Glory"), but Sexsmith seems a little less confident in these depths, particularly on the layered "Gold in Them Hills." Those seeking bucolic bliss needn't be too concerned, since not every track on Cobblestone Runway is chopped and channeled in that manner: The ethereal "God Loves Everyone" and the chiming, Kinks-styled "The Less I Know" drift by on waves of pure pop floss. While it might be too bumpy for some, Cobblestone Runway at least proves Ron Sexsmith knows more than one way to take listeners for a ride.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
A singer/songwriter whose strong suit is his warmth and humanity wouldn't seem a likely prospect to be teamed up with a bunch of electronic keyboards, drum machines, and other bits of high-tech hardware, but after leaving behind Mitchell Froom's tape-loop fantasias for Steve Earle's rootsy and straightforward production on Blue Boy, Ron Sexsmith takes another sonic left-turn on his fifth album, Cobblestone Runway his sixth if you include his first self-released cassette, Grand Opera Lane. Cobblestone Runway finds Sexsmith embracing electronics with surprising enthusiasm, but he has the good sense not to drown himself in them; while "These Days" features a prominent drum loop and echoey white-noise keyboard patches, the chilly undertow is offset by some soulful backing vocals and the slightly rumpled sincerity of Sexsmith's voice and acoustic guitar. The spacey synth lines on "Disappearing Act" find their compliment in a gloriously low-tech electric guitar. Much like Mark Eitzel on The Invisible Man, Ron Sexsmith has found a way to breathe a very human sense of emotional openness into his spare electronic backings "Heart's Desire" even winds up with a bit of noisy but high-groove jamming, and Cobblestone Runway serves his songs as well as any album he's ever made. Of course, it helps that as usual Sexsmith has written a dozen winners here, from the lament for the sad state of love on "These Days" to the realist's bid for optimism on "Gold In Them Hills." The purposefully childlike "God Loves Everyone" is one of the truly effective musical pleas for human tolerance to emerge post-September 11. On his last few releases, Ron Sexsmith the recording artist appears to be finally catching up with Ron Sexsmith the gifted songwriter, and if Cobblestone Runway's surfaces may initially puzzle a few fans, the heart, soul and hard-won wisdom of these performances confirm that he's finally mastered the recording studio, and it ranks with his best-realized work to date. The disc also features a second version of " Gold In Them Hills" as a bonus, featuring a duet vocal by Chris Martin of Coldplay. [A version of the album was released that included the entire Grand Opera Lane album as well.]
Entertainment Weekly - Jim Farber
Sexsmith has mastered the art [of writing a positive song unmarred by easy sentiment] on his latest solo work. (A)

Sexsmith has mastered the art [of writing a positive song unmarred by easy sentiment] on his latest solo work. (A)
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/5/2002
  • Label: Wea Int'l
  • UPC: 803057001125
  • Catalog Number: 570011
  • Sales rank: 96,883

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Former Glory (2:55)
  2. 2 These Days (3:22)
  3. 3 Least That I Can Do (4:25)
  4. 4 God Loves Everyone (3:09)
  5. 5 Disappearing Act (3:40)
  6. 6 For a Moment (3:03)
  7. 7 Gold in Them Hills (3:34)
  8. 8 Heart's Desire (4:20)
  9. 9 Dragonfly on Bay Street (3:23)
  10. 10 The Less I Know (4:12)
  11. 11 Up the Road (2:53)
  12. 12 Best Friends (1:53)
  13. 13 Gold in Them Hills (3:39)
Disc 2
  1. 1 In This Love (4:00)
  2. 2 Spending Money (3:46)
  3. 3 Don't Mind Losing (3:18)
  4. 4 Tell You (2:48)
  5. 5 Gonna Get What's Mine (3:52)
  6. 6 Speaking With the Angel (3:30)
  7. 7 Every Word of It (3:30)
  8. 8 Some People (3:34)
  9. 9 Trains (3:39)
  10. 10 Saving Her Love (3:18)
  11. 11 The Laughing Crowd (2:49)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ron Sexsmith Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Voices, Piano (Upright)
Ron Allen Flute, Saxophone
David Angell Violin
Anne Bourne Cello
John Catchings Cello
Steve Charles Bass, Piano, Background Vocals
Steve Crawford Choir, Chorus
David Davidson Violin
Kim Fleming Choir, Chorus
John Gzowski Electric Guitar
Greg Keelor Guitar, 12-string Guitar
Don Kerr Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
George Pendergrass Choir, Chorus
Kristin Wilkinson Viola
Bob Wiseman Organ, Harmonica, Vocals
Christer Jansson Percussion, Drums
Sarah McElcheran Trumpet
Colleen Allen Saxophone
Chris Martin Vocals
Kim Ratcliffe Electric Guitar
Gabrielle West Choir, Chorus
Glen Scott Bass, Background Vocals, fender rhodes, Piano (Upright)
Claes Björklund Synthesizer, Bass, Guitar, Drums, Noise, Rhythm, Vocoder, fender rhodes, Synthesizer Bass, String Machine, Piano (Upright)
Martin Terefe Synthesizer, Bass, Marimbas, Background Vocals, Hi Hat
Steven Donald Trombone
Ernie Tollar Saxophone
Andreas Olsson Bells, Noise, Rhythm, electronic percussion
Chris Willis Choir, Chorus
Technical Credits
David Davidson String Arrangements
Felipe Elgueta Engineer
Kim Fleming Arranger
Graham Kennedy Cover Photo
Don Kerr Arranger
George Marino Mastering
Bob Wiseman Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Navigator
Ron Sexsmith Arranger, Liner Notes
Sarah McElcheran Horn Arrangements
Glenn Spinner Engineer
Uncool Liner Notes
Claes Björklund Producer, Engineer, beats
Martin Terefe Arranger, Producer, Engineer
Andreas Olsson Engineer
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