For the Sake of the Song
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 26, 2010
Darden SmithMarathon (Darden Music)
Named for the West Texas town near Big Bend, Darden Smith delivers an affecting song cycle about physical and spiritual desolation. A peak in his 25-year songwriting career, the veteran local weaves atmospheric instrumentals with a tableau of folk, jazz, and blues that's equally introspective and hard-hitting. A triumph of simplicity, Marathon and its search for meaning is typified by "75 Miles of Nothing," a metaphor for the Texas desert and the difficulty Smith has had finding his place in the world.