Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Austin's Darden Smith has worked long and hard at being soft, writing pleasant country-tinged folk that deals with matters of the heart and the thousand natural knocks that people endure. He sees friends who lack the cou... more »
Listen to Samples
Austin's Darden Smith has worked long and hard at being soft, writing pleasant country-tinged folk that deals with matters of the heart and the thousand natural knocks that people endure. He sees friends who lack the courage to separate after years of mutually inflicted misery ("Satellite"), the anguish of broken relationships ("Dreams Don't Lie"), and he gets positively ambitious on "New Gospel," a jazzy shout of beatitude. Sometimes whimsical, other times weary, Smith's heart can be found right on his sleeve, and he brings in background singers Patty Griffin and the ever-wonderful Kim Richey to help convey his emotions. Smith claims to be getting "stronger every day"--clearly he sees his art as a healing activity, and with songs that take root as sweetly as those on Sunflower, it seems to be working. --Henry Cabot Beck
Similarly Requested CDs
Perfect Adult Folk-Pop
JD Cetola | Omaha, NE USA | 08/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautiful album. For those familiar with Darden Smith, the sound on this album falls somewhere between the terrific "Little Victories" and the more subdued "Deep Fantastic Blue". For those not familiar with this literate songwriter, this cd is on par with the best work of Jackson Browne or Pierce Pettis--and I dare say, on this effort, superior. Quite simply, this is adult pop music (with folk/jazz leanings) performed with a passion and honesty rarely heard on modern radio."Sunflower" is 45-minutes long and features probably the best two songs Darden Smith has ever recorded: "Satellite" is a beautiful acoustic tune (the entire album is basically acoustic) detailing a relationship with some serious commitment problems. Lyrically, it is trenchant and poetic. Musically, it is strumming, melodic perfection. The other, "Closer to You" is equally beautiful and poetic. The lyrical focus of this album is on adult relationships--both good and bad and the consequences we all have to face for choices made (both good and bad). Musically, "Sunflower" fits the singer songwriter mode, but with a tinge of jazz, folk, and perfect adult pop. The musicians are top notch and in addition to Darden Smith's smooth voice, Kim Richey and Patty Griffin provide additional vocals.Of the 12 songs on this disc, there is not a dud. And I daresay, none is short of terrific. Rarely does an album give me goosebumps, but this one did upon first listen and still does. "Sunflower" is a wonderful disc. Very Highly Recommended."
A Well-Deserved Moment In the Sun
bluejay2 | Davis, CA United States | 05/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Darden Smith's new album is the musical equivalent of comfort food. It's a musical pick-me-up guaranteed to brighten your day. Yet, at the same time that this album exudes warmth, it also maintains a high standard of artistry and complexity.
To be sure, "Sunflower" is more whimsical, more plentiful in daydreams (to steal a lyric from one of his new tunes) than some of Smith's past work.
The songs on this album may not tear at your heartstrings the way that songs from prior albums by Smith do. Yet, they are poignant and moving, not due to their intensity or rawness, but because of their keen insight into human conflict and resolution.
For example, "Satellite" charts the course of a couple who stay in limbo because they are too afraid to decide their own destiny. "Perfect Moment," which is a poem-like ballad celebrating life, almost makes me want to pack up my bags and embark on a road trip out to the desert. "Till It Bled"and "Stronger" almost work as bookends to one another, and are standouts in their own rights.
Smith's awareness of his own progression musically and personally is cleverly played out in this album. At least one of his songs on "Sunflower" seems consciously to allude to lyrics from a prior song.
The craftsmanship on this album provides testimony both to Smith's talent and experience. He gets able back up from several different singers, including Patty Griffin and Kim Richey.
This is an artist with a broad emotional and musical range who continues to impress with every new effort. In this collection, Smith remains remarkably in harmony with the highs and lows that add up to a rewarding and interesting life."
See it through.....
J. Bilby | Kingston, New Hampshire United States | 05/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Darden's for years and I've
been waiting a long time for him to create something
new that hit me like his 1993 release "LITTLE VICTORIES".
With "SUNFLOWER" he has come pretty close and with repeated listens
(meaning give it a chance to sink in, play it!) this collection will
not only move you with great songwriting but touch
your heart and mind. Darden has moved away from trying
to make a commercial breakthrough like he attempted back
in 93' in favor of tight beautiful songs and melodies
and very moving, at times soft and melancholy singing.
You'll find Patty Griffin and Kim Richey singing along
on many of these tracks and it just makes the whole
project so much more special. My favorites on this
gem are Stronger,'Till it bled, Satellite, Perfect Moment,
Shadow, New Gospel, Easier said than done. This is about
as pure in voice that I've heard from the male perspective
in a long time, and not since Jackson Browne have I heard
a singer/songwriter musician dig this deep about life, dreams
seperation, and moving on with life. So far one of the best
releases of the year."