Album Review: Mindy Smith's self-titled LP

Photo by Fairlight Hubbard

Nashville singer and songwriter Mindy Smith strikes a skillful balance between wistful and determined on her new self-titled album (Great Leap/TVX). It’s a collection of rootsy acoustic-based songs built around Smith’s alluring voice, which can range from fragile to robust and steely. (Smith performs tonight, July 26, in Northampton.)

She summons the latter on “Sober,” a rootsy rocker with glimmers of twangy electric guitar; and sounds heartbroken and wrung out on closer “If I,” as spare echoing guitar gives a sense of space in darkness. By contrast, Smith will not be deterred on opener “Closer,” a song about trying one’s best to stay on course, which Smith sings in a full voice over a plucky mix of stringed instruments. “Don’t Mind Me” finds Smith letting her voice loose over burly electric guitars, while “Devils Inside” is a quiet, ruminative song about the battles each of us fight within ourselves.

Plenty of artists introduce themselves with self-titled albums, but Smith waited until her fifth for an eponymous LP. It makes sense: these songs sound like they are the truest representations yet of a singer who has summoned the courage to fully bare her soul.

Mindy Smith performs Thursday, July 26, at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton. Tickets are $25 for the 7 p.m. show. Information: 413-586-8686 or www.iheg.com.

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