Ron Sexsmith, “Hard Bargain”

Part of the trick with songwriting is finding new ways to say things that have been said in songs for generations. This gets even trickier when it comes to songs about romance, as you’re pretty much dealing with the most popular topic ever. Maybe that’s why we get so excited upon hearing a love song that makes the impossible happen. Ron Sexsmith’s “Hard Bargain” is one of them. Sexsmith is one of those songwriters who isn’t so much underrated as he is underheard by a wider audience. Upon doing a cover version of the song in 2004, Emmylou Harris gave an interview with Spinner UK and summed up what a lot of people in the know feel about Sexsmith’s ability: “I don't know Ron very well, I have met him only a few times, but I am a fan of his music. Just about every singer-songwriter that you meet thinks Ron has hung the moon.” When you listen closely to the subtle craftsmanship of “Hard Bargain,” you can understand why he is so beloved. The song is essentially a nifty piece of misdirection. When you usually hear someone say, “You drive a hard bargain,” it can be a pejorative statement,…

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