Ten things Ron Sexsmith can’t live without
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.