Canadian singer and songwriter Ron Sexsmith says it's been a challenge to overcome his reputation as a downbeat balladeer.
Sexsmith kicks off a five-show tour of Atlantic Canada Thursday night at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, which continues a world tour that began in April 2015, in support of his latest record Carousel One.
Known for his soft voice and introspective lyrics, Sexsmith also has a sense of humour.
He says it's more present on his latest recording, which features a picture of him smiling on the cover.
"I smile a lot. I just find with cameras, I get the deer-in-the-headlights when people point them at me," he said on Information Morning Moncton Thursday.
He took the picture himself while he was "goofing around" on his computer heading to Los Angeles to record Carousel One.
"It was so low [resolution] they had to mess with it to really make it look like anything, so it almost looks like a cartoon on the record."
While recording, Sexsmith says he realized there were no "downers" among his new songs, but that wasn't intentional.
"I've always written songs that had humour, and I've always had up-tempo tunes."
Morose label hard to overcome
Sexsmith says the morose label came early in his career and has been hard to shake, especially after the 2010 documentary about him, Love Shines.
"It bothered me... because when my band and I are on the road we're just laughing our heads off all the time," he said. "But you can't even find that in the movie."
Sexsmith said when it comes to making music and performing he's never been shy, though he doubts he will ever feel comfortable doing photo shoots or television interviews and says his embrace of social media has been "slow."
"I really didn't want anything to do with Twitter initially, because I don't have a phone. I do it all on my laptop," he said.
But when his management team urged him to use it just once a week, he quickly went from about 600 followers to more than 20,000.
Sexsmith often posts jokes, puns and what he calls, "dad humour," showing his less serious side. He says he enjoys interacting with fans and answering their questions.
Atlantic Canadian tour
His current tour has taken him around the globe and Sexsmith says the four-piece band that's been on the road with him is currently "in the zone" when it comes to performing together.
"It's a lot of second guessing when you tour," he said. "From the minute you walk on [stage] 'til you walk off, you hope that everyone goes home happy."
Sexsmith said there's even a bit of a stage show this time around, but not to expect pyrotechnics, hydraulic risers or him running around wearing a headset mic.
His tour includes stops in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
- February 11 - Capitol Theatre, Moncton
- February 12 - Imperial Theatre, Saint John
- February 13 - Union Street Cafe, Berwick
- February 15 - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax
- February 16 - Holy Heart Theatre, St. John's