Ron Sexsmith, Caitlin Rose and a Friday night at Largo

I am at the tail end of a lovely weekend here and I thought I should report in on my various goings on.  I spent Friday night at Largo watching the fabulous Ron Sexsmith perform.  I am a big fan of Ron’s.  He doesn’t seem like the kind of fellow who would take offense at being address by his Christian name so I shall continue to do so. We’ve never met, though Willard and I did manage to unwittingly ruin a portion of a video shoot by paddling a canoe into frame at the Toronto Islands and proceeding to declare our admiration rather loudly before noticing the camera and sheepishly moving along.

I must admit I didn’t give Ron’s reach enough credit.  I showed up to Largo only half an hour before show time to discover it had sold out and got a seat in the back row.  Fortunately the owner recognizes me now and knows my seating preference so I was on an aisle with good site lines and in a nice listening spot.  The opening act was a girl named Caitlin Rose.  She was backed by a guitar player and a lap steel player and the combined ages of the talent on stage appeared to less than that of someone who could reasonably expect to collect a pension any time soon.  As I am now 200 years old and cranky to boot I wasn’t expecting much, then Caitlin stepped up to the mic to sing and out came a voice that reached all the way to the back row and punched me in the throat for my cynicism.  She was very entertaining, had a great presence and fantastic pipes.  She writes quirky lyrics and beautiful melodies and is a very good songwriter.  She has all the alchemy for greatness but in her particular genre and in this era of airbrush and auto tune I don’t know if we will hear about her opening for Gaga.  Worth checking out if she makes it north.

Ron followed.  He has a great band and the drums are newly helmed by my old pal Blake Manning who I unfortunately did not get a chance to talk to.  Mr Sexsmith has an easy presence and seemed delighted to have such a happy and receptive audience.  He played my favorite of his songs, Hard Bargain from his Retriever album, and announced that it is soon to be covered by Emmylou Harris who is another of my favorites.

The highlight of the evening was when he pulled the visiting Andy Kim out of the wings and they duetted on Andy’s first composition “Baby How’d We Ever Get This Way”(written in 1968, fully twenty years before the birth of the opening act).  Andy had a big hit in the 1970s with “Rock Me Gently” and co-wrote the song “Sugar Sugar” for the Archies, which is hopefully keeping him in warm socks for the winter.  Andy has a really great voice and the atmosphere was truly convivial.

It was a lovely way to spend and evening, wrapped in the warm bosom of my favorite venue with my Canadian brethren.  A gentle introduction to a fine weekend, in fact.  Hope yours was the same.

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