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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year
Out of the blocks in a determined, breezy fashion Mindy Smith lays down a mood of steely determination. As a great deal (as always with her music) honesty surfaces about her the state of her life. As in her pleading to be taken back (‘Take Me Back’) and asked to be given time on ‘Don’t Mind Me’; as she is sat there alone thinking and trying to sort herself out and get back into the flow of life. Something this all too often fragile singer-songwriter has done. Now on her own, her contract with Vanguard complete Smith is left to create her music with less restraints than ever before.
Thankfully, she has at last found herself standing on firmer ground than she ever has. Able to reveal her hurt and not overly dwell on it. Her song ‘Tin Can’ has a jaunty carefree feel enough to lift her spirit as she speaks of freedom opposed to sadness and regret. This feel of a greater contentment spills over on a pedal steel (Dan Dugmore) underscored ‘Everything Here Will Be Fine’. While on the flip-side of the coin, amidst swirling electric lead guitar (Joe Pisapia) and strong rhythm (Ian Fitchuk, Lex Price) ‘Sober’ contains a wonderful come join me hooky chorus. On the subject of hooks her co-write with Daniel Tashian ‘Pretending The Stars’ has her through off the shackles and cruise through life for once (I love the guitar work). Some of the songs and the recordings themselves came when she was at a low end regards a personal fall-out hence it is difficult to imagine her bettering the performances, particularly strong are her unwavering vocals.
Smiths’ combination of pop, country and smoother stuff as in a Sarah Vaughan (a hero of Smith) inspired ‘Cure For Love’ have her run the gamut of Americana to good effect, and has in wondrous ballad ‘When You’re Walking On My Grave’ the performance to elevate her to greater things. Undoubtedly the best cut on the record the entanglement of female harmonies; Sarah Siskind, Julie Lee alongside her own vocals plus electric lead and pedal steel and mandolin, acoustic guitar (Bryan Sutton) a home run is struck! Country with a hint of gospel it shows where her heart lies. An album of this kind of music and she would be not only be turning heads but bodies too and people dipping in their pocket to buy one for a friend too. To close she delivers, in understated fashion ‘If I’ (complete with scratch vocals). A beautiful heart tugging affair she edges through the reflective, hand shaped lyrics to the sound of Sutton’s tender acoustic guitar and Pisapia’s restrained electric (and that is it) as in true showmanship reserves her best work on the record till the final two cuts.
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