"This is such a wonderful surprise after Ron's last album was ruined by the production. Here, his voice is respected by the mix, and there are none of the distractiing auditory effects that made some songs on Cobblestone Runway laughably unlistenable. Now, the production allows us to sit back and listen to the songs, and these are songs that really reward listening. There are several truly wonderful, catchy, moving, beautiful songs here. I Feel For the Driver is the emotional centerpiece of the album, a deep expression of compassion for those who hurt others unintentionally. As a person who has gone through a divorce, where you can end up hurting people you reallly love the most (your children), I was grateful for a song which seemed to recognize how difficult life can be when you hurt others unintentionallly. "Hard Bargain" could be a conversation between a down-trodden lover and his difficult partner, but I like to think it's a song about a guy fighting it out with his own conscience. "Tomorrow in Her Eyes" is just a perfect, simple love song--the kind of song that I think must make other song writers wonder how in the heck does somebody write something so beautiful and moving. From Now On is an upbeat song, like Dylan's New Morning, about new beginnings "It's a new day from now on..," but in typical Sexsmith fashion it's much more than that; it's also a statement in favour of love and compassion over fear-mongering, perhaps an allusion to the current war making around the world--"They're in the business of panic and control. We're in the business of the heart and of the soul." Many of the songs are masterpieces, but there are still a few weaker tunes. The only song on the CD that doesn't work for me is "Whatever it takes," though I must admit I would love to hear Al Green sing that one, too.What makes Ron Sexsmith so special is that he writes these melodies that are as timeless and beautiful as 100 year old hymns, and his lyrics always seem to match the melody and rythmn almost perfectly. On top of that, his songs often touch on universal themes of forgiveness, loss, and compassion that are so much more meaningful that most of what you hear today. He may write better songs than anyone writing music these days. Why he isn't a superstar is beyond me. There's no one out there writing as many great songs as Ron Sexsmith."
Super folk rock
Music fan | Norfolk, VA USA | 02/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Canadian Sexsmith remains mostly a cult favorite, but over a decade he has crafted a fine career releasing beautiful, catchy pop/rock records -- in the old fashioned sense of the word, "pop." (Jessica Simpson fans can stop reading now).
"Retriever," written during the breakup of his marriage, explores familiar themes of love and longing, but delves into more serious matter as well, commenting on our willingness to be herded into panic in "From Now On," the disc's gently angry and most driving cut: "They're in the business of panic and control. We're in the business of the heart, and of the soul."
The disc explores relationships in tunes like "Hard Bargain" and the piano ballad, "Tomorrow in Her Eyes." "Dandelion Wine" takes a well-worn title and spins a bittersweet piece of nostalgia. "Happiness" evokes Van Morrison. Best of all, Sexsmith offers no easy answers so while the tunes are beautiful, they're also deceptively complex.
Sexsmith is one of the finest melody writers around, following in the fine tradition of writers like Neil Finn, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney at his best.
This is a pop record that will worm it's way into your CD player for years to come."
Somewhere over the Universe......
Kiwi | The Land of Enchantment | 08/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am new to Ron Sexsmith. Where have I been? This Cd is outstanding and so soothing.... The instrumentals are soul syrup, the melodies are whipped cream and the lyrics are full of cherries, nuts and fudge sauce.....It is putting something so sweet and so nurturing into the hearts and minds of the hungry and starving. I am still in the stage where his songs resonate in my mind just before I fall asleep at night and that waking up means I get to hear his "comfort food" again.... This honeymoon will last forever.... Fall in love folks, it's worth the risk....Calorie free, I promise...Thanks Ron, God Speed !!"
Retriever is Golden
ander | Alberta Canada | 06/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ron is back in fine form with his latest release `Retriever.' He continues right where he left off with `Cobblestone Runway' and shows no sign of slowing it down again. The songs are mostly upbeat and optimistic, but have more of an acoustic sound than on his last CD. Not to worry though, he still has two of his signature ballads; an achingly beautiful FOR THE DRIVER and the soon to be wedding staple TOMORROW IN HER EYES. In these two songs, Sexsmith's vocals are backed by a simple piano or guitar melody and they are both just gorgeous.Of all the fantastic songs on this record, no filler here, there are three that really underline how brilliant Ron Sexsmith is. Whether it's the soulful groove in WHATEVER IT TAKES, the Beatle-esque rhythm driving NOT ABOUT TO LOSE, or the words of DANDELION WINE soaked in regret, these three songs confirm that Ron is at the top of his game."
SG | Chicago, IL | 04/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What a pleasant surprise. I've been aware of Sexsmith since his first release, but this is the first one I bought. Now I'll buy the rest. Classic songcraft. Think the best of Neil Finn, Jules Shear or Jeff Tweedy. Literate, but economical wordplay. Heartfelt. In lesser hands, a ballad like "Tomorrow in Her Eyes" would feel maudlin and treacly, here it feels like a standard you've never heard before. "Whatever it Takes" is a surprisingly authentic Philly soul. "Happiness" is soaked in the feeling. It sounds like a great roadhouse singalong. And "I Know It Well" is one of the best "end of an album" songs I've ever heard. It sets a wistful, melancholy mood that keeps making me go back and play the whole CD over again."