On a Whim: Songs of Ron Sexsmith

On a Whim: Songs of Ron Sexsmith

by John McDermott
     
 

Not all singer/songwriters are equally talented as composers and performers, and though Ron Sexsmith is among the most gifted Canadian songwriters of his generation, a writer with an uncommon ability to capture the subtle details of life and love with compassion and emotional generosity, his voice is a more problematic affair, sometimes lacking the force and emotional…  See more details below

Overview

Not all singer/songwriters are equally talented as composers and performers, and though Ron Sexsmith is among the most gifted Canadian songwriters of his generation, a writer with an uncommon ability to capture the subtle details of life and love with compassion and emotional generosity, his voice is a more problematic affair, sometimes lacking the force and emotional gravity to make the most of his lyrics, especially on his early albums. John McDermott, a Canadian vocalist well known for his recordings of traditional Scottish and Celtic songs, has made a rare foray into contemporary material with On a Whim: Songs of Ron Sexsmith, in which he interprets a dozen songs by his fellow countryman, and hearing a singer of McDermott's skill perform Sexsmith's songs presents a welcome opportunity to give these tunes a second chance. As it happens, McDermott honors the intent (albeit not to the letter) of Sexsmith's original versions of these songs, and while his vocal style is a great deal more theatrical than the author's, for the most part he aims for a welcome subtlety and he plays the boyish side of Sexsmith's personality with skill and charm. McDermott sometimes goes for a slightly swinging, pop crooner approach on tunes like "You've Been Waiting" and "This Song," but the songs unexpectedly play well with these arrangements, and McDermott delivers the material with panache. If in some ways McDermott's crisp, well-disciplined tenor is a slightly curious fit for the rumpled, homey personality of Sexsmith's lyrics, his respect and enthusiasm for the material is never in doubt, and the beauty of the melodies is well served at all times. John McDermott doesn't reinvent Ron Sexsmith's music on On a Whim, but he does make a few of his songs easier for many listeners to approach without robbing them of what made Sexsmith's flawed but compelling recordings memorable. The result is a fine introduction to a great songwriter as well as a fascinating creative detour for a fine vocalist.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/03/2007
Label:
Emd Int'l
UPC:
0094638948124
catalogNumber:
389481

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

John McDermott   Primary Artist
Phil Dwyer   Flute,Piano,Saxophone
Mark Kelso   Percussion,Drums
Anne Lindsay   Violin
Claudio Vena   Viola
Brigham Phillips   Organ,Piano,Trombone,Trumpet
Jason Fowler   Guitar
John Marshman   Cello

Technical Credits

Jeremy Darby   Engineer
Phil Dwyer   Arranger
Ron Sexsmith   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
John McDermott   Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Brigham Phillips   Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Jason Fowler   Arranger,Producer

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