CD Review: Mindy Smith / Mindy Smith
Reviewed by: Antonio Marino Jr.
It’s the goal of any artist to connect with an audience on some common ground, to emotionally resonate with complete strangers and build a relationship that hopefully flowers into a career. Mindy Smith’s 5th release (interestingly self-titled) fits comfortably into the relationship she started 8 years ago with her debut One Moment More.
Each of her previous releases are akin to journal entries that follow her (and our) lives as we deal with fragile nature of our experiences through love, betrayal and the boundless grief of losing a loved one. Smith has an ability to cut to the chase and not bother with abstract views on love and heartbreak. She speaks to us plainly, at times painfully, and always with a sincerity that makes you feel like you’re sitting across from her; sharing a moment. Her voice conveys that honesty, giving her songs an intimate quality.
The album starts off with the uplifting “Closer”. Like previous album openers “Come to Jesus” and “Out Loud” the message is uplifting and spiritual but without any sense of preaching. Her faith is woven into many of her songs. Her music has always defied a true genre and you’d be short shifting the music by giving it a definitive category. On this album alone songs like “Closer”, “Pretending the Stars” and “Sober” will give alt-country radio plenty of meat to satisfy the genres love of twang mixed with clever lyrics while “Cure For Love” could be played between Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday without seeming at all out of place.
The passing of her mother, from cancer, while Mindy was in her late teens has been a subject that she has return to several times throughout her career. “Everything Will Be Fine” is a loving assurance to her mother. Compared to the heartbreaking plea in “One Moment More” (off of her debut), we see an artist coping with the immeasurable toll that losing a loved one has. The songs are powerful because they never search for pity and there’s no promise of closure. Just an honest accounting of one persons emotions.
It’s the revisiting of topics, such as the grief of losing her mother, that give her albums the feel that you’re listening to a conversation with an old friend. She doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. It’s songs like “Devil Inside” which accepts the fact we’re born to battle our personal demons that makes her accessible and easy to root for…which finds you rooting for yourself.
Self-titled releases usually signal the birth of a career. Being that this is her first release on her own label it would seem that this is simply the rebirth of a career. Judging by the first eight years and a new found freedom the path ahead sure looks promising. Do yourself, and a great artist, the favor of sampling Smith’s music and you’ll soon be along for the ride.