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After recording four albums for Vanguard, Mindy Smith struck out on her own for her self-titled 2012 release, which she released through her own Giant Leap label, and it seems like Smith made the right call, at least from a creative standpoint. After the compromised, pop-leaning sound of 2009's Stupid Love, Mindy Smith captures the gifted singer/songwriter doing what she does best in sympathetic surroundings, and this ranks with her strongest and most mature work to date. The production, by Smith and Jason Lehning, is big and roomy, allowing the tougher undercurrents to shine through while the gentler sides of Smith's songs still have their space, and the big drums and distorted guitars of "Don't Mind Me" work every bit as well as the languid late-night atmospheres of "Everything Here Will Be Fine." While Smith's high, fine-grained voice seems to lend itself best to country-leaning material, on Mindy Smith she stretches out on a variety of rootsy pop and rock styles, and she's never sounded in better control of her instrument or her lyrical voice than she does here, from the quietly rowdy "Pretending the Stars" and the sweetly jazzy "Cure for Love" to the edgy danger of "Sober." Mindy Smith is an album that swings from the optimistic and romantic to the dark and risky, and Smith brings it all to realistic, unaffected life, while getting a more resonant and satisfying sound in the studio than she managed on Stupid Love; if it isn't her best music to date, it's certainly good enough to confirm she was absolutely right to bet on herself with this project.
Performance CreditsMindy Smith Primary Artist,Background Vocals,Soprano (Vocal)
Dan Dugmore Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar
Daniel Tashian Background Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Jason Lehning Organ,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Mellotron,Roland Juno 6,Hammond B3
Julie Lee Background Vocals
Joe Pisapia Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Bryan Sutton Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bouzouki,Mandolin,Guitar (Tenor)
Lex Price Acoustic Guitar,Bass
Sarah Siskind Background Vocals
Ian Fitchuk Percussion,Drums
Kate York Background Vocals,Alto (Vocal)
Technical CreditsPhil Madeira Composer
Daniel Tashian Composer
Jason Lehning Producer,Engineer
Lori McKenna Composer
Mindy Smith Composer,Producer,Paintings,Prints
Jordan Lehning Engineer
Kate York Composer
Tami Hinesh Composer
Kevin Sokolnicki Engineer