Actually, Sexsmith's story is more Cinderella now than ever, his prince being Rock. But the album has yet to find a home with a U.S. label. "Really, the success he wants, I don't even know if that's possible any more," Rock says. "The business has changed so much."
Perhaps Sexmith is chasing something unachievable - throwing punches while fate mockingly holds him away with longer arms. "The days of the great singer-songwriters singing on the radio are over," says Lefko. "I watch performers at places like the Hotel Café in Los Angeles who would be Jackson Browne in the 1970s. But you see them now and think, 'It's not going to happen.' "
Still, the swelling and spiritually cynical Believe it When I See it is in heavy rotation on BBC Radio 2, and Warner Canada continues to promote Sexsmith, even in the States.
What happens now? Rock, who's acted as a life coach to Sexsmith, has no guesses. While he sees Long Player Late Bloomer as a firm step in a better direction - "This is a starting point, to what he can achieve in his career and what he can do with his life" - he knows there are no guarantees. "I've made really bad records that really have sold a lot, and I've made amazing records that nobody even noticed."
As for Sexsmith, what can he say? "All my songs sound like hits to me," he says with a shrug. His fans agree (as do his songwriting peers) and he follows his dreams. We should all be so lucky.
Songwriters and singing praises
A collection of opinions, some from the new Ron Sexsmith documentary Love Shines, offer insight into the mellow Canadian troubadour.
Steve Earle, singer-songwriter: "Ron, I think, sometimes underestimates how lucky he is that anybody knows who he is, as good as he is. I think it's unjust, but it's not unprecedented."
Pop star Leslie Feist: "He's greater than his doubts. But I guess that's ultimately part of his charm ... that struggle. He breaks your heart with his reality, and he does it within a song."
Colleen Hixenbaugh, Sexsmith's partner and fellow musician: "He's special. He's very different. He can't hammer a nail; he doesn't drive a car; he rode a bike once. He's only here to write songs."
Afie Jurvanen, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist: "You just want your peers to get what you're doing. In Ron's case, his peers very much get it. But, I guess after albums, you probably want something more than that."
Ron Sexsmith: "I don't know that I've been the greatest dad or the greatest husband or anything. But I don't think that's what I'm here to do. I did my best, but [songwriting]is what I'm supposed to be doing. It's easier for me to almost be a better human being in a song than in real life."Report Typo/Error