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How on Earth?


Ron Sexsmith and band at The Cedar, Minneapolis: March 21, 2011Last night I saw Ron Sexsmith in concert at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Joann, Tammy, Nicole and her beau Cole were there with me. This was the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen him in concert; Joann saw him with me way back in 2002 at the 400 Bar. Nicole’s been a big fan for a long time, and Tammy’s been listening to Long Player Late Bloomer non-stop for a week in preparation for the show. She’s his newest big fan.

My lousy cell phone photo makes it look as if we were sitting in the rafters. Not true. The Cedar isn’t big enough to have a lousy seat in it, and we were sitting in the third row of folding chairs not more than fifteen feet from front center stage.

Well, the show was brilliant. It was a mix of new stuff and old favorites. “Strawberry Blonde” (from Other Songs) was a nice surprise; Retriever‘s “Hard Bargain”—recently covered by Emmylou Harris—and “Brandy Alexander” were standouts. “Secret Heart” closed the show.

Long Player Late Bloomer album coverRon and his band really sparkled on about seven tracks from the new album. One of the highlights from this disc was “Believe It When I See It,” which he noted is getting heavy airplay by the BBC. This “must be some sign of the coming apocalypse,” he said. Another highlight was “Love Shines” which is being played here in the Twin Cities on the Current. He opened the show with another new one, “Get In Line.”

(Click on the album cover image to buy a copy of this disc from Amazon.com, or better yet, buy it at www.ronsexsmith.com. I’ll buy it back from you if you don’t like it.)

***

But the highlight for me, and for us, was an oldie from the 2004 album Retriever.

A little over two weeks ago, just after buying tickets, I sent an email to Ron requesting he play his song “How On Earth.” I wrote in part

I know you can’t take requests, and with your extensive catalogue, the chances you are prepared to play the specific song I’m hoping to hear are slight, but I will make a request anyway. I was married almost eight years ago. “Retriever” came out the year after our wedding, and I’ve never heard a love song more beautiful than “How On Earth.” If I were a poet, I would want to write something this beautiful to my wife.

I didn’t have high hopes that he’d answer my email, but I figured it was worth a shot. Joann knows how I feel about the song. It reminds me of her, of us, and of our yearly roadtrips to the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona. It’s just a beautiful song.

He sent an answer to my email about a half-hour after I sent it:

Thanks for the kind words and yeah … I’ll try to fit in “How On Earth.” I’ll see if my band remembers it; if they don’t I’ll play it solo.

And then last night, he and the full band played it. To introduce it he talked about getting the request via email and asked “Are you here tonight?” Nicole and Tammy’s screams answered the question. Tammy knew this was coming. Nicole suspected something based on my telling her “I have a feeling tonight will be special” and by Tammy’s excited reaction when he started to talk about the email request. Joann was in the dark.

Joann cried, but I think she liked it.

Wow!

Edited October 1, 2015 (see also Musical Thank You #8: Ron Sexsmith and Neko Case).

The five of us before the show Please listen to the song (below), but I’m warning you that you will want to buy the album. The lyrics are beautiful, but they don’t do justice to what is realized in Ron Sexsmith’s performance of the song.

How On Earth
 
Dreams come true in Heaven all the time
Baby how on earth
 
She takes my hand
And I feel like I am home
She understands if I need to be alone
When I am down and can’t go on
She fills my heart with song
 
We see it in the movies all the time
Baby how on earth
Did we stumble upon this storyline
Baby how on earth
Did we pull it off
So green
So unrehearsed
Baby how on earth
 
When she is sad
There is so much hope inside
When she is glad all the tears flow to her eyes
When I’m away I think of her
To a dream my mind wanders
 
Dreams come true in Heaven all the time
Baby how on earth
Did we happen upon this love divine
Baby how on earth
Did we find us
Down here where people get hurt
Baby how on earth
 
Yes how on earth did we ever find us
We thought tomorrow was behind us
So glad to be wrong
She fills my heart with song
 
We see it in the movies all the time
Baby how on earth
Did we stumble upon this storyline
Baby how on earth
 
Dreams come true in Heaven all the time
Baby how on earth
Did we happen upon this love divine
Baby how on earth
Did we find us
Down here where people get hurt
Baby how on earth
 
©2004 Ronboy Rhymes, Inc.

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