Recordings | August 2015

By Cait Brennan, August 2015 Issue.

Adam Smith

So Simple Now | 

Just a few short years after relocating to Arizona from his native Kentucky (via Nashville), Adam Smith has fast become a local treasure. His 2010 debut Another Way To Get To Heaven featured such disparate talents as Alice Cooper, rock legend Dick Wagner and new age/instrumental standout Chris Spheeris on drums, helping to bring Smith’s songs to light. Many great songs have followed, and on his new album, So Simple Now, Smith brings it all back home – literally. The album was recorded in his home studio over the course of a year, and it’s his finest work yet.

“You Would Do The Same” opens the set, and it’s a beautiful way to get things started, a moving plea for understanding in a world where it’s in short supply. The resonant, reverb-drenched arrangements make it feel like it was recorded inside some great cathedral or old Tennessee church. It’s a thing of beauty.

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Smith is a gifted songwriter, and on these generous 17 tracks, he displays his gift for deeply affecting melody. Smith’s voice is so lovely you wouldn’t care if he was singing the phone book, but his thoughtful, revealing lyrics reach the heart. Fans of everybody from Joni Mitchell to Bon Iver to Namoli Brennet will find much to love in these very personal songs. “Made To Be Broken” is a heartbreaker, seeking to make sense of life, love and loss. Smith invites the listener over for a beverage on the charming “Water and Wine,” while “Tell My Story” ruminates over regrets and flaws, and “Creatures Of The Morning (lullabye for vampires)” is the tenderest of ballads.

Smith was born in the Appalachians and “Mountain Heart” is a special tribute to that, drawing on the deep mysticism that underlies his work and putting it front and center. It’s an extraordinary, mostly a cappella piece that captures the mystery deep in the heart of the mountain woods.

“Brave Enough To Try” closes out the album. “I see myself as free when the possibilities are brave enough to try,” Smith sings. These songs are a gift, and So Simple Now is timeless late-night listening and an exciting new work from one of Arizona’s best.

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