I adore Ron Sexsmith. His soft nature as he sings is nothing less than enchanting. Seeing him in the intimate venue of Schubas was a real treat not just because the sound there is always fantastic but also due to the fact that it felt almost like you were having a conversation with him and could really feel for the songs themselves.
In terms of the music, Ron could have easily played just by himself with an acoustic guitar and still gained my admiration but instead he chose to play with a great backing band which included a drummer, guitarist and bassist that helped make even the most sentimental songs have a bit more of a kick to them without losing those special ingredients only Ron Sexsmith knows how to provide.
In addition, there were so many great endearing gestures about him as between songs he would sip from a big white cup that somehow seemed to add to the night. In a way, when you know someone’s songs and material, what you might be really hoping to gain from a live show is how that musician is in real life. I know I’ve learned a great deal about Robyn Hitchcock just by seeing him play and observing his gestures and quirky nature. Stage banter with both musicians is also a plus. Ron conversed in a low-key laid back manner, telling us he would make a better Charlie than Johnny Depp because he really liked chocolate. (Schubas had been playing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory earlier in the evening.) While he played songs from throughout his career, he humbly told us a couple of times that he never really knew what the audience would want to hear.
Just getting close to him, you sensed this unassuming quietness about him. His looks almost resemble a Canadian Robert Smith but he has a very innocent boyishness look in his eyes. It makes you realize that perhaps no matter how old he gets, he’ll still retain that sort of young wonder. He ended his set perfectly with an encore performance that included “Secret Heart.”
Opener Kim Taylor proved to be a good match as she was overall just as soft around the edges as Ron. The waifish solo singer/songwriter might have also done some nice harmonizing with Ron Sexsmith if given the opportunity. You can tell she’d probably been raised on all of the great Neil Young and Joni Mitchell as a child but I’d like to see her to develop her own sound a bit more. In between songs, she talked about her coffee shop and large heaps of sugar while gazing out with her angelic looking eyes behind her acoustic guitar. Overall, it was an engaging set, though her best song was her cover of “Chocolate Jesus” by Tom Waits. She proved to fit well within the context of the evening, although not as perfect as a double bill with Feist may have been…