Folk Roots Radio Episode 440: In Conversation with… Ron Sexsmith

Folk Roots Radio Episode 440: Ron Sexsmith In Conversation

We’re giving over the whole of Episode 440 of Folk Roots Radio to an in-depth conversation with one of Canada’s finest songwriters, Ron Sexsmith. During our wide-ranging conversation, Ron Sexsmith chats about songwriting, and becoming a published author with the release of his grown-up fairy tale Deer Life, which, now, may also become a musical. He also talks about live performance – both solo and with his band, and a new album for release in 2020. Ron Sexsmith will be performing an intimate solo show at the 2019 Roots North Music Festival, at the St. Paul’s Centre in Orillia ON on Friday April 26. Check out the full playlist below.


Ron Sexsmith has released fifteen full-length albums, since his debut “Grand Opera Lane” in 1991. His most recent album, “The Last Rider” was released in 2017, shortly after making the decision to relocate from Toronto to Stratford ON. The Last Rider features 15 tracks, for a variety of moods (happy, sad, introspective, romantic)  that all come in around the three minute mark.

“I think my sound has always been a combination of the folk singers and British Invasion artists I’ve always admired,” Ron says. “At this point, it’s just second nature for me to write short, melodic songs that say everything you want to say.”

The album was produced by Ron with Don Kerr at The Tragically Hip’s studio The Bathouse near Kingston ON.

“I did have this wealth of knowledge about recording that I didn’t really realize I had. And being able to rely on Don (Kerr)’s skills at getting great sounds, and just making sure everything ran smoothly, was essential. I think for a long time I just may have been afraid to produce myself. I mean, if someone ever said to me, ‘I don’t like the way this album was produced,’ I could always say, ‘Well, I didn’t do it.’”

Ron Sexsmith believes that The Last Rider is one of his most personal albums.

“I didn’t plan on it being that way, but as we were assembling the songs, this theme did start to emerge about leaving the city, which my wife and I are going to be doing soon, and other big life changes. The album title stems from these thoughts I’d had going into it that this actually might be my last album for a while, just because of how frustrating the music business can be these days. But the way everything played out, it felt a lot more free, so I guess we’ll see what happens.”

For more information about the music of Ron Sexsmith, visit

Roots North Music Festival

The 2019 Roots North Music Festival takes place across Downtown Orillia on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27. Ron Sexsmith will be sharing the Friday night main stage with two other fabulous songwriters, Rose Cousins and Ariana Gillis. Alt. folk rising star The Weather Station headlines the main stage on the Saturday evening with support from inspirational world music performer Alysha Brilla who blends folk, jazz and world rhythms together and Americana duo VK. There will also be a full day of free performances throughout the day on the Saturday, at a variety of downtown venues.

Check out the full schedule for the Roots North Music Festival, on their website at ​Weekend passes can be picked up at Alleycats Music in Orillia or online​ via the website for $55.


You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via iTunes, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Ron Sexsmith
Worried Song
The Last Rider (2017, Ronboy Rhymes)

Interview: Ron Sexsmith chatting about his career in music.

Ron Sexsmith
Man At The Gate 1913
The Last Rider (2017, Ronboy Rhymes)

Ron Sexsmith
Who We Are Right Now
The Last Rider (2017, Ronboy Rhymes)

Ron Sexsmith
Love Shines
Long Player Late Bloomer (2011, Ronboy Rhymes)

Linda Thompson
If I Were A Bluebird
Won’t Be Long Now (2013, Topic)

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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