Hermitage is the 16th entry into Ron Sexsmith’s vast discography, but it’s the first album he’s released since leaving his longtime hometown of Toronto in 2017 and settling two hours west in the much smaller hamlet of Stratford, Ontario. And from the sounds of chirping birds that open the record, it’s clear the move has had a revitalizing effect on the veteran singer-songwriter. The majority of Hermitage’s 14 songs clock in at under three minutes, but they’re overflowing with winsome melodies and delightful details: The harpsichord-spiked “Chateau Mermaid” folds late-’60s Beatles into early-’70s Steely Dan, and “You Don’t Wanna Hear It” pits fuzzy guitar tones against a lush symphonic soul arrangement. And while piano serenades like “When Love Pans Out” reassert Sexsmith’s gift for tender, openhearted exchanges, his underrated sense of humor takes center stage on “Winery Blues,” a hilarious account of a disastrous countryside gig confirming that for the modern-day middle-aged working musician, vineyards are the new casinos.

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