Ron Sexsmith - Time Being
Long considered one of Canada's best songwriters is the consistently underrated Ron Sexsmith. For his tenth record, he reunites with Mitchell Froom, who produced Sexsmith's first three albums. Froom and Sexsmith work splendidly together, making for one of Sexsmith's best records in years. Time Being sees Sexsmith operating at a higher level than on 2004's Retriever, and features more substantial songs than 2005's Destination Unknown.
The record's overriding theme is time - the impermanence of life, and the inevitability of death, the relationship between optimism and realism, and the joy of love and dreams. As always, the themes are articulated with grace, and Sexsmith's songwriting is again a model of ’60s folk-pop melodic efficiency; his songs are deceptively involved, and not a note or lyric is wasted. The musicianship is solid, if understated; invariably, these songs are so balanced that it's easy to take their specific elements for granted. Lead single ‘Hands Of Time’, his best single since ‘Gold In Them Hills’, showcases Sexsmith at his melodic and lyrical best. Alternating effectively between upbeat songs and ballads, the record's first half gives way to the second, which features some of Time Being's most interesting material, including the fascinating ‘The Grim Trucker’, especially amusing as an example of Sexsmith's ability to tell a story musically. Another highlight is the edgy ‘Jazz At The Bookstore’, which keeps things interesting by introducing some blues tension. Conversely, the ballads ‘Never Give Up’ and ‘Reason For Our Love’ are practically lullabies, but still contain so much charm it's tough not to like them.
Time Being doesn't break much new ground, but this may be Sexsmith's best record - and that's saying a lot. If you've yet to hear him, Time Beingearns a long overdue chance.
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on 2009-10-20 dscanland Said:
Ha, Time Being has been in my review pile for 3 years. I don't know if I will EVER get to it. It is one of Sexsmith's finest moments though. Check it out if you like singer/songwriter stuff.