“You Deserve A Song”

I was in Toronto, teaching a songwriting workshop at Humber College. The special guest lecturer for the week was Ron Sexsmith. I’d always liked Ron’s records, especially his second one called Other Songs. It’s full of great tracks – “Strawberry Blonde,” “Pretty Little Cemetery,” “Child Star . . . ” After Ron’s talk, he played a few songs from his new album, Time Being. I bought a copy and took it back to the hotel that evening to listen through headphones. As soon as it was through, I picked up my guitar and out popped the whole melody to “You Deserve A Song,” with the title attached. I’d been wanting to write a song for my girlfriend, and this seemed perfect. Romantic, sweet, simple. While it doesn’t sound anything like Ron Sexsmith, I think it was his album that somehow made the song possible. It’s mysterious how that happens. I remember talking to Ben Folds about this once. This thing of listening to a record, then sitting down to write, while you’re still under its influence. He called it “taking an impression.” I like that.

A week later, my friend Angela Kaset helped me finish the lyric. “A secret serenade that holds you in its sway.” Good line. Again, it was recorded at home on the laptop. Jim Hoke played the breathy Stan Getz-style sax. I keep hoping that this song gets picked up for a movie. C’mon, music supervisors.

Oh, after the album came out, I sent an mp3 of the song to Ron, letting him know that his album inspired me. I got a nice email back, saying he thought the song was great. That meant a lot.

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