DIARY - 10 MARCH 2005 - MINDY SMITH
SMITH - MULTI COLOURED CLOAK
never take my will to fight/ cause I was born at the bottom of this mountain
I am scaling/ and I'll probably climb it until the day I die." -
Fighting For It All - Mindy Smith.
New Yorker Mindy Smith moved to Knoxville with her adoptive minister
dad after her mum died of cancer in 1994 she soaked up the spirituality
of the south.
But after finishing college and heading west to Nashville she resisted
the wishes of her Christian publisher Word Music and followed her
Word advised Smith, now 32, to soften her lyrics and dump darker aspects
of melodies and arrangements.
She was told her searing songs were too gut wrenching and personal.
"I got dropped, and it was the best thing that could ever happened
to me," Smith revealed as she promoted debut disc One Moment
More on another label (Vanguard-Shock.)
The disc, which she co-produced with Steve Buckingham and dedicated
to her mum, had a head start when preceded by the hidden track Jolene
(the only cover).
It was chosen
as a single and video clip on Dolly Parton tribute disc Just Because
I'm A Woman.
The video won a huge reaction on Nu Country TV with the singer's character
finding her man cheating on her.
Smith stands in the road, holding her lantern and staring down the guilty
couple. And then nothing!
"Well, wait until you see 'Jolene: Part II,'" she joked recently.
It's no surprise the soulful soprano's originals impacted akin to mentor
Lee Ann Womack after working live with fellow writer Jason White who wrote
evocative abortion song Red Ragtop for Tim McGraw.
include Raggedy Ann - portrait of a poverty primed unhappy
childhood, and the title track - an exploration of life and loss.
"It's about my mum Sharon who passed away from breast cancer,"
says Smith, who left her native Long Island, New York, after her
"It's been a great healing song. A lot of people have thanked
me for writing it, because they didn't know how to communicate how
they felt. The record is dedicated to her. She was also a musician
and a fabulous singer."
Smith, raised by her adoptive parents, has no qualms about exorcising
grief in songs.
way of dealing with my problems is writing songs or just staying home
and not doing anything," she says, "my mother was a vocalist
and she made a lot of sacrifices, but she loved her life and she loved
her family. She was just a special, special person."
rejected the soppy pap of Christian music and delivers Come To
Jesus as a gospel grunge song of sorts as her entrée.
The Train Song explores the angst and pain of a woman awaiting
the return of her lover - she could be a spurned spouse or grieving
good old girl.
"I've been crying, trying to make sense of all this shit he left
me to tend/and I'm just wondering, I'll ask again, is my sweet man
on that train?"
Angel Doves is equally evocative and vitriolic but a leap of
faith delivered more in the style of Iris De Ment than her mentor.
"When you're blindsided and deceived and chained to the floor/
when it's difficult to see the writing on the wall/ keep on believing
God is soaring above a world that's running out of love."
an inherent sadness in Smith's music here but she has soulful credibility
that Laura Cantrell and Kathleen Edwards would kill for.
Melodically and vocally Hard To Know breaks the mould with its
"Well, you should have heard the way I've been talking to myself/
treating her like common trash on the side of the road."
Don't dismiss the dynamic diva for vocal fragility on first listen.
This was cut in two weeks with Bryan Sutton on acoustic with Billy Joe
Shaver guitarist Will Kimbrough and Kenny Vaughan, bassist Glenn Worf,
Dan Dugmore on steel, a pair of drummers and Matt Rollings and Steve Conn
And the title track was featured in the season finale of the Warner Brothers
TV series Smallville.
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