Ron Sexsmith, “Can’t Get My Act Together” from Carousel One (2015)

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As inviting and sun-flecked as Ron Sexsmith’s melodies no doubt are, his lyrics often run the other way — painting the picture of someone in shambles, just trying to string together a few breaks. File “Can’t Get My Act Together,” the new single from the forthcoming Carousel One, thusly.

The song moves with a confident grace, while the narrative pulls apart a relationship that can’t get going because its protagonist is too tangled up in his own issues to commit. It’s as sharp, as cutting, as anything by Bob Dylan, but Ron Sexsmith articulates something far more direct and personal.

There’s something hopeful embedded here, though, in particular when you look more deeply into Sexsmith’s discography of downbeat confessionals. And that feels brand new. Two years in the making, Carousel One in general — and even “Can’t Get My Act Together,” if you really listen — is the sound of someone who’s closer than ever to a real sense of contentment.

Ron Sexsmith sings with the sharp edge of John Hiatt, but the sensitivity of Jackson Browne, and a crack band full of sidemen who have worked with everyone from John Lennon and John Lee Hooker to Dylan and Lucinda Williams match him line for resonant, whip-smart line.

And, wait, is that smile on the cover? From Ron Sexsmith? You can almost hear the scalliwag’s wink in “Can’t Get My Act Together,” due on Carousel One via Compass Records via March 31, 2015, a track meant to be an apology that — in an intriguing twist — doesn’t always sound all that sorry.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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