I always look forward to a new Ron Sexsmith album—something that’s thankfully a regular occurrence. The Vivian Line is his 17th, and another gem. You often hear his music described with words like “effortless” and “unassuming,” and this album is maybe the purest example yet of that feeling. It’s a perfect dozen songs, none that stretch much over three minutes, and some that barely cross the two-minute mark.
The Vivian Line is the second album Sexsmith has recorded since moving from Toronto to small town Stratford, Ontario as part of a mini exodus of artists in recent years, and there’s a sense of ruralness to the album that extends beyond the cover photo and more obvious nods like the song “Barn Conversion.” The rich arrangements and instrumentation—Sexsmith and producer Brad Jones describe the sound as “baroque pop”— add a warmth to the record, and there’s a depth revealed on repeat listens, which the conciseness of it all invites you to do.