The Sun E.P
706 Union Ave.
Imaginative Americana That’s Full of Thoughtful Charm.
I don’t know an awful lot about singer-songwriter Stuart Smith apart from he comes from Illinois and this is his second release and it was his life long dream to record at Sam Phillips’ iconic Sun Studios.
In a busy month, being recorded at Sun Studios was enough to pique my interest; but there was going to have to be something special to get me to listen fully and then find the time to write about the contents; especially with such a limited Press Release.
Well, dear reader; the opening verse of Inches From Your Heart not just caught my attention; but told me that this song was going to be my Favourite Track regardless of whatever followed.
“I had a dream last night
You were only 23
A natural blonde singing Born to Run
In my car painted British Racing Green”
That spooks me because I love Brice’s Born to Run and I have a life long fascination with sports cars ‘painted British Racing Green!!
Stuart Smith? You’ll do for me matey.
The song itself then takes us on a harrowing journey into the heart of love lorn Americana territory; without ever losing the listeners attention.
Smith fills his songs with both strength and wisdom; with the wired Shadows sounding quite stark by comparison to the opening track that precedes it; but with Smith’s voice getting ever more passionate as the story develops you know you are listening to something really special indeed.
Labor Day is a thematic love song that dabbles its toes in the Countrier end of Americana, but the claustrophobic production and multi-layered instruments behind Smith and his acoustic guitar make for a very memorable and thought provoking few minutes; and a song you will want to come back to again and again.
Smith’s voice finds ever more pathos to it on the heart-tugging Rattle The Locks (on my heart), which fires passionate love bullets with each and every note and word.
Perhaps it was the opening harmonica but Promised Land and the way Stuart wheezes his way through this enigmatic tale; but my first thoughts (and again today) I couldn’t help thinking of Springsteen’s Tom Joad era; and while never copying The Boss there’s more than a nod in his direction on this beguiling song.
The all too short EP closes with another windswept blue-collar, ‘deep and meaningful’ Americana tale, We Are Nowhere which will make you put down the newspaper or book you are reading to catch every last word.
It’s fair to say that I’ve been very impressed by this second outing from Stuart Smith; and I don’t know if recording these oft winding and clever songs in Sun Studios made an iota of difference; as they are good enough anyway; or just knowing where he was made Smith ‘up his game’ during the recording process but either or both theories make good sense.
What else do you need to know before parting with your hard-earned pocket money?
He has a world weary, slightly worn around the edges singing voice that just oozes rustic charm; and can not just write a song that will touch the heart of everyone who hears them; but his guitar playing is both understated and somehow manages to combine the subtleties of John Martyn with the passion of someone like British Folk legend Bert Jansch too.
Released 7th June 2019