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Ron Sexsmith: At Midlife, A Songwriter Ponders Mortality

Ron Sexsmith's new album, <em>Forever Endeavour</em>, comes out Feb. 5.
Michael D'Amico
Courtesy of the artist
Ron Sexsmith's new album, Forever Endeavour, comes out Feb. 5.

Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.

"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."

Speaking here with NPR's Melissa Block, Sexsmith discusses dealing with setbacks — including a health scare and an unpopular album — and how he channeled his energy into new material.

Interview Highlights

On the album's title

"When you're a songwriter, it is a bit like a forever endeavor, because you're trying to do something or write a piece of music that maybe will outlive you. It's like those Stephen Foster songs. Everybody still knows 'Camptown Races.' ... When you're a songwriter, you have a shot at immortality if you're lucky."

On the song 'Sneak Out the Back Door'

"I was feeling a bit rejected by the music industry. It's a feeling that comes and goes, I find. And I was just thinking about disappearing and not wanting to make a spectacle of myself. ... I would never be one of those guys to say, 'OK, I'm gonna do a farewell tour.' I would just not be there anymore, you know? I think that's really the best way to do it. But what happens with me is I get down and I write a bunch of songs, and then I get excited again. And so it's like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football all the time."

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