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 almost 40 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  

READ MORE
More Darden Smith
SongwritingWith:Soldiers Helps Write the War After the War
SongwritingWith:Soldiers Helps Write the War After the War
Darden Smith, Mary Gauthier, and other songwriters combat PTSD one song at a time

Doug Freeman, Nov. 1, 2019

Texas Platters
Darden Smith
Love Calling (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Aug. 9, 2013

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Raoul Hernandez
SXSW Music Review: Nine Mile Records & Touring Serves Up Tacos, Lone Stars, and Roots Galore at the Continental Club
Nine Mile Records & Touring Serves Up Tacos, Lone Stars, and Roots Galore at the Continental Club
Welcome to the Virtual Live Music Capital of the World

March 20, 2021

SXSW Music Review: Finland – The Happiest Country in the World – Presents the Showcase Must Go On
Finland – The Happiest Country in the World – Presents the Showcase Must Go On
“South by Southwest, I said put your fucking hands up!”

March 19, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Darden Smith

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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