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DARDEN SMITH —EVERYTHING (Compass Records)

 

www.dardensmith.com

www.compassrecords.com

www.songwritingwithsoldiers.org

 

Singer-songwriter, Texan Darden Smith is a true professional. A man who is meticulous in what he does, not least are the songs he writes. To go with his self-penned tunes the album also has co-writes with self-minded performers in Matraca Berg, James House, Bruce Robison, Radney Fost

er, Jay Clementi and Christian Clementi. Smith recalls that his last record, Love Calling (2013) was his fourteenth in thirty years.

Smith afterwards went through a period where he wondered if had anything new to say, and if anyone was listening, but the songs would not be denied as they continued to spill forth. During this period, apart from performing and writing his songs he helped build the non-profit Song-writing-With-Soldiers. A program that brings professional songwriters together with wounded veterans to write songs about combat and the return home. Secondly, he was through with cynicism. It was a time to show human kindness, compassion for strangers, and for love, and what better way to do this than through his songs, his music. He felt he wasn’t getting any younger but he was becoming more contented due to him honing in on gratitude, faith, love and hope, and ability to spread joy and happiness as he started to see things differently.

Smith’s articulate work has never faltered over the years, and though he might not have produced the big hits but such is the quality of his work and that of the players involved the listener can’t but be impressed with his articulate creations. Musicians on Everything include Roscoe Beck (acoustic, electric bass), JJ Johnson (drums), Michael Ramos (piano), Charlie Sexton (electric guitar), David Mansfield (strings) and Smith (acoustic guitar, percussion, piano, ukulele) plus vocalists James House, Kelly Willis, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Bruce Robison. Smith’s tender ballads “Me Too”, “Can You See The Moon”, “Carousel” (w/ Willis) are paired with lilting jazz warmed odes (“Soul Searching”) and own assertive tunes “Home” and “Blessings” plus sombre, heart-felt ode “Forever” and beautiful love ballad “Firefly”. There's more to as he speaks of going against the grain and on thinking about those close to him who have left this world (“I Love You, Goodbye”), and of course the title-track “Everything” as he speaks of wanting it all. Not in a greedy fashion, but through the passing of time he’s become more aware of life’s treasures. Arguably, the strongest song, even edging the title-track Smith unfurls the muscular statement of“Love Will Win The War”. Nice one, Darden.  

 

                                                        Maurice Hope              

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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