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Ron Sexsmith: At Midlife, A Songwriter Ponders Mortality08:20

Ron Sexsmith's new album, Forever Endeavour, comes out Feb. 5. (Courtesy of the artist)closemore
Ron Sexsmith's new album, Forever Endeavour, comes out Feb. 5. (Courtesy of the artist)

Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.

"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."

Speaking here with NPR's Melissa Block, Sexsmith discusses dealing with setbacks — including a health scare and an unpopular album — and how he channeled his energy into new material.

Interview Highlights

On the album's title

"When you're a songwriter, it is a bit like a forever endeavor, because you're trying to do something or write a piece of music that maybe will outlive you. It's like those Stephen Foster songs. Everybody still knows 'Camptown Races.' ... When you're a songwriter, you have a shot at immortality if you're lucky."

On the song 'Sneak Out the Back Door'

"I was feeling a bit rejected by the music industry. It's a feeling that comes and goes, I find. And I was just thinking about disappearing and not wanting to make a spectacle of myself. ... I would never be one of those guys to say, 'OK, I'm gonna do a farewell tour.' I would just not be there anymore, you know? I think that's really the best way to do it. But what happens with me is I get down and I write a bunch of songs, and then I get excited again. And so it's like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football all the time."

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