Darden Smith

Everything (Compass)

Texas Platters

Lone Star song whisperers (octogenarians Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson), their inheritors (septuagenarians Terry Allen, Butch Hancock, Billy Joe Shaver), and great grand inheritors (sexagenarians Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen) left a palpable void for the half-century set: Slaid Cleaves, Bruce Robison, Darden Smith. Out of the lot, the longtime local latter from the East Texas town of Brenham still falls between the singer-songwriter cracks. Smith's 15th release does Everything that career peaks including Little Victories (1993), Sunflower (2002), and previous LP Love Calling (2013) accomplished, only too much so. Opener "Blessings" begins with a Bruce Hornsby piano lope, and "Against the Grain" in the third spot ranks among the singer's best, trademarked by gentle acoustic guitar, soft percussion, and a tender delivery. Between them, "Firefly" pulls off a perfect romantic metaphor, but that same delivery, tempo, and percussion flatlines – lethargic – while "Love Will Win the War" ("hate might win the battle, but ...") is simply trite. "Soul Searching," "Carousel" despite Kelly Willis' sweet harmony, and closer "Can You See the Moon" flounder as well, moving past peaceful to listless.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Darden Smith
Texas Platters
Darden Smith
Love Calling (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Aug. 9, 2013

Off the Record
Off the Record
Electric Lounge's second act on the Eastside, catching up with Scratch Acid and Austin's other 'Voice' contestants

Austin Powell, Sept. 9, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Jeff Bryant
Sleeping With the Lights On (Record Review)

Isabella Castro-Cota, Feb. 9, 2018

Texas Platters
Lisa Morales
Luna Negra and the Daughter of the Sun (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 2, 2018

More by Raoul Hernandez
SXSW Music Review: Gang of Youths
Live Shot: Gang of Youths
Aussie hitmakers begin their North American takeover

March 15, 2018

The Austin Music Awards’ Ecstatic Experience
The Austin Music Awards’ Ecstatic Experience
Thirty-four awards and six musical sets in 211 minutes

March 9, 2018


Darden Smith

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle