CD Review: Ron Sexsmith – Exit Strategy of The Soul (Yep Roc)

After seeing this album wind up on so many Top 10 lists of other writers I respect, I had to go out in search of this disc and see what all the fuss was about. I am glad I jumped on this as fast as I did, as it’s truly a wonderful record and possibly the best yet from Sexsmith, who has slowly but steadily made a name for himself as an ace songwriter and vocalist.

On this disc, he adds “skillful arranger” to his many attributes as he manages to have absorbed some of the musical characteristics of the Cuban surroundings while recording this album in that humid clime. Not only has he called upon some of the area’s most noted horn players, but the songs themselves are drenched with the horns and sultry rhythms the area is known for without overwhelming Sexsmith’s songs.

And what great songs they are.

Armed with his distinctive voice and a slightly skewed view of life and love, Sexsmith uses his wordplay to lull you into a dream state before he drops the boom on you, usually in the form of a unexpected lyrical twist that leaves the story in an ambiguous netherworld where the listener is expected to draw their own conclusions about what the songs mean and if the characters meet a happy ending all to the tune of some of the sprightliest pop-rock the singer/songwriter has ever conjured. While just about any woman can tell you that Sexsmith isn’t the only man who has dreamt up an exit strategy to a love affair, Sexsmith might be the one they’re sorriest to see go as his performance on this album may be his best ever.

Pick this album up and see this man at the very top of his game.