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Concert Review by Nick Morgan

MUSIC - CONCERT REVIEW: RON SEXSMITH  - by deluxe guest writer Nick Morgan

The first time I saw Ron Sexsmith play was in a circus tent, when he looked like a lost child at a fairground. Last night in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall he looked like an androgynous nephew awkwardly out of place at a school prizegiving. But somewhere inside that clumsy boy there's a rock & roll star bursting to get out - as he demonstrated in a set that swung from heart-rending pathos ('In a Flash', when we all nearly cried) to tremolo and vibrato driven Graham Parkeresque rock ('Wishing Wells').

Awkward or not - with his voice of an under-age choirboy getting stronger as the night went on - he captivated an audience (equally ill-at-ease with the venue) through almost two hours of tunes from his beautifully crafted song-book. Songs from the new Retriever led the way - but at the heart of the evening were classics such as 'Cheap Hotel', 'Wastin' Time' (with Ron solo on the Piano), 'Riverbed' (another piano arrangement with three part harmonies from the band and support artist Sarah Slean), 'Secret Heart', 'Lebanon Tennessee' and somewhat appropriately, a final encore - guitar and cello, 'Speaking with the Angel'. Oh yes - and somewhere in the middle a duet, 'Lo Mismo Que' with Alexis Puentis. On the face of it all simple tunes - but with a deceptive complexity in terms of structure, musicianship (an excellent band - but Ron can play that guitar), and in particular lyrical structures. An evening with only one blemish. Ron - where did your Mum buy that suit? - Nick Morgan

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