I could list a hundred voices that just completely soothe and move me, including Karen Peris (of The Innocence Mission), Norah Jones, and Joni Mitchell. It's hard to stop listing the names, but if I had to choose one voice that I could marry (if it were actually possible to marry someone's voice), it would be that of Mindy Smith.
The album is solid from beginning to end. To list my favorite tracks is to basically list the entire album. To be fair to you the reader, however, I will mention my top 5 tracks from this album: "Edge of Love," "I'm Not The Only One Asking," "Out Of Control," "Tennessee" and "Little Devil".
|Album cover for "Long Island Shores" released in 2006|
It was little surprise to discover that her cover of the song "Jolene" featured the "Queen of Country Music" Dolly Parton. The collaboration was born when Smith was asked to contribute to Parton's tribute album "Just Because I'm a Woman". Smith was hired to record backing vocals for Parton's classic "Jolene". Parton retaliated graciously by adding backing vocals to a different mix of the song with Smith on lead vocals; this version is found on "One Moment More".
It may have been Smith's first album but it's clear by the expertise of the songwriting and the strength of her voice that she was born to make music, something Parton no doubt witnessed first hand.
|Album cover for "One Moment More" released in 2004|
Though Smith's covers are lovely and unique, her original songs (some co-written with Chely Wright and Thad Cockrell) are the true treasures of the album. "Santa Will Find You,""Come Around," "I Know The Reason," "It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)" and "Follow The Shepherd Home" are classic Mindy Smith and bring a breath of fresh air to a genre that can sometimes feel stale with boring covers.
Album cover for "My Holiday" released in 2007
"Highs and Lows"
But for the most part, the album is more upbeat and pop-oriented than her previous. Despite the pop element, Smith stays close to her folk and country sound, successfully keeping the album in safe territory. It's hard to imagine a songwriter like this ever falling into pop hell. It may keep her from gaining more attention than she deserves but with an Americana Music Association award (for Best New/Emerging Artist of the Year - 2004), working with legendary artists, and gaining critical success, what else could she ask for?
Album cover for "Stupid Love" released in 2009
Four albums into her career, she's quickly proved that music can take elements from folk, country, rock and even alternative and make it into something anyone can appreciate. With a strong head on her shoulders, talented songwriting skills and a voice worthy of marriage, Mindy Smith is definitely one to watch.
For more information on Mindy Smith, visit her official site: www.MindySmithMusic.com
TRIVIA: For her 2012 self-titled album, Mindy Smith choose to release it independently through her newly created record label (Giant Leap Records).