Concert Review: Mindy Smith at SubCulture in NYC
Reviewed by: Antonio Marino Jr.
New Yorker’s got a jump start on the holidays as Mindy Smith played her first show in support of her latest release, the Holiday EP Snowed In. SubCulture, New York City’s newest live music venue welcomed the native Long Islander home. Smith, who now makes Nashville her home, has released five critically acclaimed full length records in the past nine years.
Unlike many new artists who release their own music in the hopes of attracting the interest of major labels, Smith started by turning down major labels to sign with a smaller independent label only to eventually decide that she made for her own best boss. It’s an unconventional path but Mindy isn’t exactly your run of the mill talent.
Opening with two songs (”Closer”, ”Sober”) off her last full length album, she strikes an interesting balance of entertainer and “old friend” regardless of whether you’ve ever seen her before or not. Between songs she jokes that she wants everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves. The comment is in part reference to the fact that she has her childhood neighbors in the first row but it’s also part of her folksy charm that she invites us all in. Woven into that charm is an honesty that makes the performance fresh and unscripted. Breaking from the mold of singer/songwriters who stare off into the distance and dazzle themselves with their own words, Smith never indulges in such pretentiousness.
“One Moment More” a song written about losing her Mother to cancer took on a poignant context that left the singer (and audience) wiping away tears. With an angelically clear voice she conveys even the most painful of emotions with a sense that everything will be alright. No matter how personal or confessional her songs start out you end up relating to them – sometimes to the point of losing yourself in a memory.
If Mindy Smith was judged on the merits of her songwriting abilities alone she’d be a formidable talent. The fact that she has a voice that can outshine her writing talents is almost implausible. In an era of unpalatable computer-enhanced “singing” it’s comforting to know that the real thing is still alive and well.