My first listen of Smith’s new album left me fairly certain he falls into the category of one of those obscure songwriters who deserves to be heard. By my third spin, I was convinced that everyone needs to hear this guy, immediately.
A rugged version of Springsteen and Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers) if they grew up on Tom Waits and early Wilco-ish Americana, there’s not much dancing to be done here, but the violins, banjos, glockenspiel, and harmonicas lend themselves to the introspective and occasionally political atmosphere that is endlessly rich and heartfelt.
Far from a cutting-edge, genre-defying listen, Smith keeps things simple, honest, and refreshing with straight-to-the-point stories and soulful sounds that touch on country, folk, proto-punk, and roots rock. His husky, smokey voice has a sage-like quality, and the music has a gritty yet beautiful ambience that will likely strike a chord with the thoughtful, analytical listener.