The follow up to Grant Maloy Smith’s critically acclaimed ‘Dust Bowl American Stories’ features some of Nashville’s finest musicians and it certainly shows. The production is well thought out and rather atmospheric.
The instrumentation perfectly matches the traditional themes that lie within Smith’s lyrics. From the rise and fall of the coal industry on the opening track, The Coal Comes Up to the In This Twilight, a song about a harrowing night with a drug addict, the tales Smith tells are supposed to be a snapshot of the things the region has been through over time. All the while, Smith’s husky and raw vocals, authentic in their delivery add to the weight and emotion of these tunes.
Through the sometimes heavy subject matter though are light hearted, up-beat songs such as Gas Station Chicken which help to break up the intensity of the record whilst songs such as I Found Faith address the religious way of life there. That song in particular is effective with the addition of gorgeous backing vocals from Kim Fleming and Kim Mont whilst Smith’s vocals find another gear that we haven’t heard before.
Credit should also be given for the thoughtful presentation of the collection, in this digital age, packaging and artwork has been an after thought for most but there’s nothing better than unboxing an album and reading the liner notes. Smith takes it one step further as a forty page booklet takes you through the stories behind each song.