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MINDY SMITH —MINDY SMITH (Giant Leap / TVX Records; self-released)

 

http://www.mindysmith.com

 

 

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.

 

                                                                   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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