In this season of political vitriol Mindy Smith’s “Long Island Shores” is like a soothing salve for the psyche. It is unapologetically sweet and soft while never sinking into the schmaltz that is most of contemporary country music today. She maintains a respectful rootsiness in the instrumentation and a fierce independence in the production and songwriting. You might say Mindy Smith has chosen the Alison Krauss route to making music. Their voices are similar and although this is only her second album, Smith shows the potential to inherit the same kind of following that has rewarded Krauss with more Grammys than any other female singer.
It took eight years for Mindy Smith to become an overnight sensation with her first album, 2004’s “One Moment More.” Her career defining song “Come to Jesus” radiated spirituality while the dense guitar work gave it an uncharacteristic edge. She revisits that sound on the new album with “I’m Not the Only One Asking” but she’s smart enough not to get pigeonholed into that formula and the rest of the songs allow her to grow a little musically. There’s a playfulness to “Little Devil” and the jazzy “You Know I Love You Baby” and her earnestness propels songs like “Out Loud” and “Please Stay.” The biographical title cut gives us insight into her single parent upbringing and “Tennessee” is an ode to her adopted home.
It doesn’t hurt that she can now afford top notch session players like Buddy Miller who duets with her on “If the World Stops Turning” but on the final song her only accompaniment is her own acoustic guitar for “Peace of Mind.” She sings “I need peace of mind and a hopeful heart…and a miracle for this broken soul.” Sounds like just the right therapy to heal all our wounds.
Listen for a lot of music this week from Mindy Smith’s “Long Island Shores” on Paul Shugrue’s new music show “Out of the Box” Monday through Thursday from 7pm to 9pm and Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm and please make a pledge this week to show your support for Public Radio 89.5 WHRV