Nobody will ever confuse Ron Sexsmith's melodic ballads with anything Nirvana ever put out. But both Sexsmith and Kurt Cobain grew up with very little money in depressed paper-mill towns (Sexsmith in St. Catherines, Ontario; Cobain in Aberdeen), a fact not lost on Marty Riemer, who called Sexsmith "the Canadian Kurt Cobain" during his podcast (hosted by yours truly) this morning.
"It wasn't possible for someone like me to have a career before Nirvana," the disarmingly humble Sexsmith replied, between acoustic renditions of "Love Shines" and "Riverbed." "Not that my music is anything like theirs, but they were sort of the bomb that blew up the '80s. All of a sudden, it was possible for a guy like me to come through with just his guitar and sing without irony."Sexsmith, who plays the Crocodile tonight (preceded by a 6:30 in-store at Silver Platters in Queen Anne), is the subject of a poignant new documentary, also called Love Shines, that just won an audience award at SXSW. In the film, Sexsmith is portrayed as making one last stab at commercial success by hiring multiplatinum producer (and fellow Canadian) Bob Rock to produce his recently released album, Long Player Late Bloomer. While Sexsmith seems pleased with Love Shines, he feels that the portrayal of his quest for stardom is a bit skewed. While unabashed about his desire for his records to do well, he says he's perfectly grateful to simply make a living as a musician, and that he's "not at all interested in fame, especially now that it's been cheapened" by the Kardashians and the like.
Check out the entire podcast below. And be sure to tune in to Marty's show Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m., when the guest will be Joe Seely of the Brooklyn duo Pillowfighter (no relation to the author--not!):