Sometimes when you "veg" in front of the TV it is a completely unrewarding and pointless exercise. On other occasions, you may find a gem. That's what happened to me last Friday when I caught a documentary on Ron Sexsmith on BBC 4 called Love Shines (available for another 6 days here).
The portrait of the Canadian singer making his twelfth album was quite beguiling and has resulted in me buying the album Long Player Late Bloomer from itunes. It's a great album - very commercial in its presentation but with enough depth to make it possible to listen to it over and over again. The vocals remind me of Paul McCartney and Gerry Rafferty but the voice is individual enough. It's pure humanism, of course, but humanism in a very attractive package for all that.
"Heavenly" slips into the quasi-religious as so often happens. Difficult though not to warm to a line like "Pessimism's so tempting/It's spreading all over town". "Believe it when I see it" is more overtly anti-Christian (We've just a wish and an empty vessel/A hole to fill with days/On a road where children stray/Then pray there is no hell/And as for heaven, well). The utter hopelessness of such nonsense is made palatable by the beauty of the song itself. Even bleaker, yet powerful for its honesty, is "No help it all" which would serve as a good theme tune for humanism I guess. "Michael and his dad" is moving. The more aggressive, uncaring and self-asserting side comes out on the opening track "Get in line". So all in all an album that people will enjoy in their droves, sadly having their worst prejudices confirmed at the same time. Or perhaps they will listen carefully, rejecting the philosophy but enjoying the music.
In the documentary Ron says he feels he's here to produce music. He's not much good as a dad or anything but he can produce music. You can see how he has got there but most people won't want to get too close to someone like that, as endearing as he may appear.