CD Review: ALEX SMITH – Close To Home


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 for Country Music News International

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