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Smithfield Fair - Brick, Stick & Mortar

~ CD Review ~

Oct 16, 2013
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Smithfield Fair is a polished and accomplished group. They have all the ingredients of the early classic folk groups – instrumental proficiency, good voices and songwriting ability. Their website says they have been together for forty years and have twenty-eight albums to their name, so they’ve been doing this since they were babies!

They create lush harmonies with their voices and instrumentation, and the songs tell the stories that especially resonate with baby boomers’ hearts. Falling in love again, blessing the salt of the earth, precious memories, flimflam men and life in the south. I found that last angle to be particularly interesting, since a lot of folk singers seem to be from the Northeast or California. These are Louisiana/Bayou memories, about manners, and fine ladies, and hot weather.

The first two songs, “A Second Cup of Coffee” and “Sweet Sugar Cane,” both have catchy tunes – in fact, I had “Sweet Sugar Cane” playing in my head for weeks. The thirteen songs were all written last year – these folks really have their creative juices flowing. All of the compositions seem to come from personal experiences. They are gifted with an ability to take everyday, ordinary situations that anyone can identify with and convey them into songs that address those experiences.

Dudley-Brian Smith and his brother, Bob, from Pensacola, Florida, started out playing folk music in the seventies. Jan Dedon Smith (who married Dudley-Brian) joined them in 1983. They have shared billing and played alongside a lot of well known musicians such as Nancy Griffith, John Prine and Arlo Guthrie. The band shifted their focus in the late eighties, playing mostly traditional Scottish music, and then in the mid 2000s, they went back to writing original songs. Something in their sound reminds me of Robin and Linda Williams. Because of their excellent musicianship, they seem to be able to interpret almost any musical style.

This is a really catchy, touching, gem of an album. To find out more, check out their website at smithfieldfair.com.

Press photo from smithfieldfair.com

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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