Long Player Late Bloomer, by Ron Sexsmith
Why don't more people listen to Ron Sexsmith? The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter crafts masterful pop songs, records them with topflight producers and sings them in an understated croon. Unless you hate music that makes you smile, what's not to like?
Sexsmith's polished new album is produced by Bob Rock, who delivers the guitar-pop pleasure. "Love Shines" sounds like an early Coldplay hit, except with all the things those songs lacked: warmth, classic-pop melody, moments of surprise.
"Get in Line" and "Heavenly" draw from Americana sounds, but without a hint of folkie earnestness. Like Paul Simon, Sexsmith makes his references fall in line behind the main event: pop perfection.
He doesn't dig too deep with his lyrics, but it's no matter: the music is expertly designed to make you feel good.