Close To Home
I don't even have the song list on this brand new CD by Alex Smith. It's so new I don't even have the jacket to tell you who the magnificent musicians that are appearing on this wonderful, very poignant presentation of original music. Many of you know Alex, originally from Maine, now living in the state of Vermont, is an incredible writer about the deepest of human feelings and emotions. One title, I'm pretty sure, is "Stay With Me Now" or very close to that. It's a song about past life, looking at the past, atoning, and dreaming of redemption, predicting the future in a personal relationship. Alex's baritone voice is very expressive and tremendously meaningful in his interpretation of his own artistic work. There's some incredibly beautiful guitar work on song #3, which is obviously the title track "Close To Home." This land is your land is as meaningful to Alex as it was to Woody Guthrie, but also expect to hear some delightful guitar picking on this song, both acoustic and electric. I'm a great fan of Alex Smith. He's first and foremost a 'songwriter' with the voice to make it all plausible, understandable, and listenable. Track #4 has a really nice tempo change that emphasizes understanding. I'd like to be able to tell you who these musicians are that provide such interesting backing, but no information at this time. Pretty sure it's Alex on rhythm guitar. Please also remember, Alex Smith uses the old, very successful 'story telling' element in his writing. It was nearly mandatory in early country to have a story behind the song. Alex uses this technique really well. Oh how I wish modern country music could somehow recover that lost art. Alex is probably best described as a 'folk' singer utilizing some of the early ingredients that made rural music popular in the first place, but today is a 'bought and paid for' commodity. That's very sad. There is a tremendous amount of incredibly gifted music and music makers in America today that will go unheard to the masses simply because of the collapse of fair-play in the music marketplace. We get an overdose of performers like Gaga and Madonna, all preaching how they are playing to the popular music crowd, but are they, really? And WHY is so much of America's beautiful music from it's still surviving rural areas so overlooked, deliberately or otherwise? Well, now you know, you can still find it with Alex Smith.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President National Traditional Country Music Association www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International