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Ron Sexsmith 

Time Being (Ironworks)

Like Paul McCartney without the existential cluelessness, Ron Sexsmith is a low-key melody-maker capable of small, shining stays against the chaos of modernity. Still, there's never been enough sardonic humor to cut Sexsmith's acoustic sweetness, never enough salt water in his slowly-melting-taffy sound. Fault him for lack of ambition, but he never over-reaches and never succumbs to the rank nostalgia of the conservative wing of Americana. The U.S. release of Time Being (available overseas since May 2006) is a further study in restraint. Sexsmith patiently tackles the big theme of Time, relying on producer Mitchell Froom's lo-fi juxtapositions — shitty-sounding electric guitars duet with banjos of gold — and seasonal images, including a final snow angel from a departed lover, a cold-hearted wind blowing straight into "the face of love" and a sun disappearing before the day "had even begun." "The world is a very small place," Sexsmith sings without a trace of irony. "Dusty things...remind us of our time on earth." Sometimes his miniaturist portraits get the big picture.

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