Listen to this track by one of my country’s greatest musical assets, Ron Sexsmith. It’s “The Grim Trucker, a deep cut from his 2006 album Time Being.
Ron Sexsmith is one of my favourite artists, seemingly gifted with a knack for songwriting that makes every album of his worth exploring. A lot of the time, his stuff is about the mysterious nature of our lives, and little observations that lend meaning to it as we travel along our respective roads. Yet here with this song, Sexsmith deals with these same themes through the images of pigs going down the hill, the sleepy-eyed little children being bussed off to school, and the titular and mysterious Grim Trucker, who may or may not be death. This is an oddity of a song, perhaps because Sexsmith takes such a lighthearted approach to such weighty subject matter.
I like too that this song rocks out a bit, with lots of the Harry Nilsson textures that fans expect of Sexsmith, albeit this time with some pretty heavy White Album-Beatles overtones as well. Sexsmith would continue a trajectory of top notch pop rock on his subsequent, and excellent, Exit Strategy of the Soul, on which he would add horns, and some jazzier flavours as well, plus a co-write with Feist in the hit “Brandy Alexander” which is also featured on Feist’s The Reminder.
Yet this album boasts a harder edged side of Sexsmith’s writing in this tune, kind of a psychedelic song about death full of absurdist, funny lyrics about pigs, police stations, and the possibility of an afterlife.
For more music from Ron Sexsmith, I’d advise you hasten to Ron Sexsmith’s site.