Hogtown Hometown Heroes – Ron Sexsmith

From the 427 to the River Rouge, Lake Ontario on up to Steeles Ave, we bring you the city’s best, past present and future.

Ronald Eldon Sexsmith was born in St. Catharines, ON and began his musical career playing cover songs in bars around the area. A resolve to write his own songs led to a project called the Uncool, and the release of a cassette, “Out of the Duff’, which featured 5 original Sexsmith compositions.

At the age of 21, Sexsmith moved to an apartment on Woodbine Ave, in Toronto’s Beaches area. During this time he recorded and released another issue on cassette. “There’s a Way”, was another self-release and was promoted by live appearances in Toronto.

During a performance at a local open mic, a crucial meeting between Sexsmith and Toronto musician Bob Wiseman took place. A subsequent musical friendship developed and in 1991, Ron released the Wiseman produced Grand Opera Lane LP.

The record was rejected by every Canadian label it was sent to and was eventually put out by Ron himself.

Although Grand Opera Lane was passed over by the likes of Canadian major labels, the album did eventually garner some attention in the music world. Based on the strength and quality of the LP, specifically the song, “Speaking with the Angel”, Sexsmith released a self titled record through Geffen records, his first major label effort, in 1995.

The album introduced Sexsmith to a wider scope of audience, and when Sexsmith’s music was brought to the attention of Elvis Costello, he praised the record and invited Ron to join him on tour.

Through the years, Sexsmith’s popularity has continued to grow steadily.

He has collaborated with the likes of Emmylou Harris, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and many famous admirers have covered his songs, including K.D. Lang, Rod Stewart and Feist.