Ron Sexsmith's first album remains his best. It is that old story that an artists' debut contains years of melodies and emotions distilled into songs, as the subsequent albums have to recreate the same intensity and within a year or two. Sexsmith was 31 when this album was released, and it is certainly worth the wait. Mitchell Froom's production is perfect for Sexsmith's delicate songs, with acoustic guitars layered gently over a sympathetic rhythm section. The main attraction, however, is Sexsmith's unique voice. Soulful and warm, Sexsmith evokes the emotion of 'Song for you'-era Gram Parsons or the intimacy of Dylan on 'Restless Farewell' or 'Girl From the North Country'. The words he sings share with with fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen the near perfect poetic construction, and Cohen's 'Heart With No Companion' is covered by Sexsmith here. But whilst Cohen's lyrics wryly tell of melodramas, Sexsmith's stories are of the everyday, the humdrum made beautiful and heroic. Thus the modest yearning of 'Lebannon, Tenesse', or the vignette of feelings never spoken 'The words we never use'. Difficult to pick a standout track, but 'Speaking with the Angel', a paen to his son (after whose birth Sexsmith said 'he first felt like a songwriter'), has it all - a lullaby melody that enters your mind and never leaves, and sentiments to melt the stoniest heart. Ron Sexsmith has reached similar heights on his subsequent albums, but he has not equalled the lovely 'completeness' of his debut.