Ron Sexsmith

Thursday

SXSW Records

Ron Sexsmith

Long Player Late Bloomer (Ronboy Rhymes)

Ron Sexsmith remains incapable of making a bad album. Unfortunately, he seems equally incapable of achieving a true breakout that will elevate him beyond beloved pop songsmith to wider acclaim. The early millennial tandem of Blue Boy and Cobblestone Runway came close, but the title of the Canadian songwriter's 12th album is aptly chosen, if perhaps somewhat overly aspirational. Sexsmith continues to wear with sublimely comfortable ease, but Late Bloomer strikes moments suggesting he may have crossed a line into innocuous AAA. The guitar and piano often perk moments of late-1970s Jackson Browne ("Believe It When I See It" and the title cut), while Sexsmith's typically uplifting tunes can slide into James Taylor for the boomers ("No Help at All"). The master pop craftsman can still play it like Elliott Smith's hopeful counter, and when producer Bob Rock pulls the right sounds together ("Michael and His Dad," "Eye Candy"), it's golden. (Thu., 12mid, Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn; Fri., 12mid, St. David's Historic Sanctuary)

**.5

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