His name may make him sound like one of hard rock's dirtiest axe men but it was a long time since Ron Sexsmith was rough around the edges.
The Canadian singer-songwriter has released a dozen studio albums and a couple of self-releases since 1985, gradually honing his style and sound, ever more polished. And, at every turn, he has found critical acclaim and no shortage of established artists lining up to work with or laud him. He probably gets introduced as the songwriter's songwriter.
So long the 'next big thing', Ron Sexsmith has turned heads all around the world with his deft compositions but, despite substantial critical triumph, commercial success has been much harder to come by. In a 1999 interview, he said: "It's out of my hands. I'm a 35-year-old guy from Canada and I don't write groove oriented-music. So, I can't expect too much."
Dip into his considerable back catalogue at almost any point and it's obvious that he could write and record a chart hit or two in his own name. Perhaps if Ron was prepared to cough out a few forgettable four-chord, three-minute paper pop songs on a laptop one afternoon he'd get some of the chart exposure that has been cruelly eluding him. That he doesn't sacrifice his obvious talent to pursue sales alone is to his eternal credit.
Sticking to your guns as a songwriter is an approach that results in a comparatively small but devoted fan base and they will turn out in force when Ron Sexsmith again hits these shores later this month.
Sexsmith's 12th studio album, 'Long Player Late Bloomer', was released in February 2011 and the Canadian is touring the new album worldwide. The UK leg of the tour kicks off at the O2 Academy in Oxford on 30th August, followed by gigs in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and others, before the final date of the run at the Waterfront in Norwich on 8th September.
We have tickets available now for all dates except Brighton (31st August) which is now sold out - check with the venue for returns. Prices for the remaining dates range from £16.50 to £20.
Ahead of the tour dates, Ron Sexsmith is also playing the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham on 29th August.