To raise the stakes, Sexsmith and his wife financed the album largely by themselves. Long Player Late Bloomer sounds unsurprisingly like the rest of Sexsmith's catalogue. The rollicking, country folk of "Get in Line" urges doubters to take a number and get in line. "Miracles," another entry in a long line of effortlessly lovely Sexsmith ballads, regales us with life's simple magic. What is different is the stiff shot of glossy rock-radio production on the upbeat numbers. "Believe It When I See It," the album's would-be hit, explodes into a chorus of chiming guitars, harking back to the '70s with thick vocal harmonies that could have come right off the first Boston album. "Late Bloomer" has a Nashville sheen that suits Sexsmith's bittersweet reflection nicely. "It's about having a bit more skepticism, where in the past I would have been overly optimistic."

With a new album and the documentary on its tail, 2011 is going to be a big year for Ron Sexsmith. He may have broken his personal funk, but will he break his record slump? Will he rightly land the bigger venues next year, or will it be back to solo gigs at smaller clubs? "At the risk of losing my shirt, I'm going to bring my band," he says. The least we can do is bring him an extra shirt.

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