Ron Sexsmith and the Rheostatics’ Don Kerr (a veteran indie rock producer who toured with Sexsmith as part of his band) mingle like a pair of acoustic tenor angels on their collaboration Destination Unknown. “Misfit songs sung by a couple misfits” is how Sexsmith describes the record but nevertheless the gently folkified pop/rock found on these 13 tracks is instantly familiar; much like his criminally underappreciated catalog, Sexsmith’s faintly gritty tenor wraps itself around these evocative vignettes like so much barroom smoke. Childhood is a theme very much evident in the disc’s packaging and it’s one that carried over to the songs as well—“Lemonade Stand,” “Tree-Lined Street,” the sweetly mournful “Raindrops In My Coffee,” and “Diana Sweets” manage a practically Proustian level of sense memory recall. A largely acoustic affair, laced with pedal steel and dobro, this unplugged set, produced by Kerr, is a minor-key stunner that rewards repeated listens and in a just world, would win this deserving artist legions of new and rabid fans. Sexsmith’s 2004 full-length Retriever was a melancholy singer-songwriter affair that dealt with the string of harsh events experienced by the troubadour; expanding his sound and threading a world-weary perspective through his songs, Sexsmith delivered an unassuming, wounded masterpiece. Destination Unknown, on the other hand, is a fairly upbeat (for the most part) and engaging record that’s aided tremendously by Kerr’s reedy vocals; while the title suggests an aimless amble through the back roads of life, Sexsmith knows precisely where he’s going and easily entices you to join him on the journey.
- Release Date
- September 12, 2005
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