Canadian Music Corner: Ron Sexsmith & Gunner and Smith

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

Ron Sexsmith

Ron Sexsmith is a name any serious fan of music has heard of, but seems to languish outside any sort of popular recognition. While his music has never been very hook-y or full of whatever is popular at the time, his melodic style is bait of critics and regularly receives top comments from those who spend time listening to it.

Filled with pianos, some string arrangements and slower rhythms, it’s easy to see why he’s never hit the top 40. The quiet, simple tracks may not be aggressive enough to garner more notice.

One positive for him though is the recognition he does get from well respected and more famous artists who then cover his material, like k.d. lang, Feist and Rod Stewart. However, while he enjoys the respect, Sexsmith has vocalized the fact he would appreciate a little more mainstream success.

His strength as a songwriter isn’t just the music, he puts together full packages of lyrics and music and couples them like wine and cheese. For an example of this check out “Gold in Them Hills,” of which there are two versions, one with a fan, Chris Martin of Coldplay.

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor Ω

Gunner and Smith

Firing off from Saskatoon, Sask., Gunner and Smith is a five-piece folk group created out of what was originally a solo folk act in lead singer and guitar man Geoff Smith.

Formed in 2010, the group released Compromise is a Loaded Gun on Aug. 3, 2012, a six-song EP featuring “Strength of My Fathers.”

The sound projected by the band is a bluesy-folk fusion. That being said, Gunner and Smith still works in some electric guitar for a heavier sound on tracks such as “Send Me Out.”

“Send me out to find a way to prove my worth, show my strength,” cries Smith on the opening track, “Take my name and set it free. Cry not for them, cry not for me, cry for yourself to be at peace.”

Prior to 2012’s Compromise is a Loaded Gun, the group released an earlier EP, Letter of Marque in November 2011.

Gunner and Smith put on an energetic and lively stage performance, having just completed a short fall tour that featured the band’s first shows in Alberta. Apart from three shows in hometown Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan folksters also rocked stages in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Moose Jaw.

For a classic folk sound, make sure you give “Two Gun Blues” a listen as Gunner and Smith incorporate the banjo, an always pleasant addition to any great folk track.

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