Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mindy Smith - Stupid Love

The best way to understand the present state of Mindy Smith's career is to put that career in the context of how it really began. Mindy Smith was included in an all-star tribute album to Dolly Parton, Just Because I'm a Woman (Sugar Hill, 2003). However, in 2003 Smith was no All-Star, but there she was on an album with Allison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Kasey Chambers, Shelby Lynne and Norah Jones among others. Dolly Parton was so impressed with her cover of "Jolene" that she sang on the version recorded for Mindy Smith's 2004 debut album. In fact,the two of them remain close Friends. Fast forward to 2009, and you see a Mindy Smith taking a step away from those rootsy and acoustic beginnings and embracing a more diverse sound, and potentially a wider audience.

Widening your appeal can be a tricky proposition, often to create breadth an artist will sacrifice depth. Fortunately, there is nothing shallow about Stupid Love. There is a theme to the album. Love is tough and involves heartache and disappointment. However, there is enough good to make it worthwhile. Maybe that is why love is stupid. There is more heartache than happiness for humans when it comes to love. Is it really worthwhile? Is it worth all the heartache we go through in the search for true love? When you look at human behavior the answer seems to be yes. Mindy Smith seems to have noticed this also, and to her it seems to be stupid. How ironic! The fact that we are stupid enough to look for true love makes it all the more satisfying when we find it. It is the depth of her music that ha always made me connect with it. On Stupid Love I see a Mindy Smith that has widened her appeal in a way that will not weaken her connection with her existing fan base.

This review also appears on Twangville