audiotrack Other Songs

reviewed by Carey Dean Potash

Published in Issue No. 13 ~ June, 1998

Once again I have followed the path of producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos) in yet another venture – Ron Sexmith’s warm and fuzzy second release, Other Songs.

Warning: This is not pregame locker room steroid-ingesting rock and roll. Do not listen in the getaway car on your way to the Mexican border. These are rainy-day ballads. Call out sick. Get out from under the sheets only to hit ‘play’ on your stereo. With the exception of rare up-tempo tunes Average Joe and Clown In Broad Daylight, the soft acoustic melodies will surely find its way onto your ‘fall asleep mix.’ His songs are poetical snapshots of life. Innocuous yet moving. A conversation with his little boy about death in Pretty Little Cemetery. A girl he once knew as a child now grown in Strawberry Blonde.

The Canadian troubadour’s delicate, Orbisonian voice and tender songwriting has earned him, well, not a whole lot of commercial success. But with support coming from artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Elvis Costello and Peter Gabriel, success can’t be too far off. Or can it? With an album modestly titled Other Songs, featuring only half of his blurred face on the cover, you might think this average Joe is content where he is. Knowing that he is what his peers are listening to. Knowing that he was the scraggly-haired guy invited over Paul McCartney’s house to jam over a plate of scrambled eggs and vegetarian bacon.

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Carey Dean Potash graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English. He works as an editor for an online news provider. He's only begun 'writing' short stories, his fiction appearing in a zine called Sink Full of Dishes and in the May issue of Pif. In his words, "I don't plan on riding horseback through the Rainforests with martini in hand at some $10,000 summer writing workshop. I've also never been a roadie for Kiss. And aside from winning 'Best Hair' in the eighth grade, I haven't won any contests." A major influence of his was Dave Louapre, who wrote a short-lived comic strip called Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children.