The melancholy singer-songwriter releases his new album, Carousel One, next month. Here, the 10 things he can’t live without
1 My ushanka
I have a hard time finding hats because I have a really big head. I bought this furry one at Eddie Bauer at the Eaton Centre. I live near Trinity Bellwoods, and I love walking around looking like Dr. Zhivago.
2 My frilly shirts
I’ve been collecting them since 1997, when I shot the “Strawberry Blonde” video in L.A. They make me feel like a rock star.
3 My record collection
I don’t have an iPod or smartphone—the only way I listen to music is on vinyl. Captain Fantastic was the first album I ever bought. I was a member of Elton John’s fan club as a kid. Years later, he started sending me holiday cards.
4 My glasses
I’ve worn them since kindergarten. I hate them. They make me feel dorky. But the other day I went to meet my son without my glasses, and he was waving at me forever before he came into focus and I realized it was him.
5 My Bing portrait
Bing Crosby is one of my favourite singers. My friend Kurt Swinghammer, an artist and songwriter, painted this portrait of him for my 50th birthday last year.
6 My custom jackets
Susan Harris designs these jackets for me. She uses recycled materials and transfers original prints onto them, like a deer or a clock. It’s my thing.
7 My Kinks
When I was 15, I read an interview with Pete Townshend, who said Ray Davies was his favourite musician. Right after that I heard my first Kinks song, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a songwriter.
8 My Viewmaster
I got it when I was six. It doesn’t work quite as well as it did back then, but I still have all the original reels I received as birthday and Christmas gifts.
9 My wedding calacas
My wife and I got married in Santa Fe in 2009. We bought Day of the Dead skeletons as souvenirs.
10 My ’56 Martin
A few years ago, I was hired to play a surprise private show for a woman’s 80th birthday party. They told me not to bring my guitar because they had some. I played this one, and a couple of months later they gave it to me as a gift. It’s my baby now.
1. Sure as the Sky
2. Saint Bernard
3. Loving You
4. Before the Night Is Gone
5. Lucky Penny
6. Getaway Car
7. Nothing Feels the Same Anymore
8. Sun's Coming Out
9. Lord Knows
10. All Our Tomorrows
11. No One
12. Can't Get My Act Together
13. Tumbling Sky
14. Many Times
15. The Other Side (bonus track)
16. Is Anyone Going to San Antone (bonus track)
By Alex Hudson
The album was produced by Jim Scott (Wilco, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters) and features veteran backing players Bob Glaub (bass), Jon Graboff (guitar), Don Heffington (drums) and John McGinty (keyboards).
"I didn't realize until we were putting the songs together for Carousel One that this would be more outgoing, there's a lot more humour," Sexsmith said in a statement. "I mean, there's even a smiling picture on the cover, which I've never had before. I just hope it doesn't scare the children."
The album contains 14 new tunes, plus two bonus tracks on the CD and digital versions that aren't on the vinyl. Carousel One is named after the location in the Los Angeles airport where travellers pick up luggage from flights arriving from Toronto.
Pre-orders begin on February 17.