• Jonathan Widran

NATE SMITH, Some Kind of Dancing

On his 2016 debut album Around and Around, the bitingly insightful, socially and politically astute Los Angeles based singer songwriter Nate Smith laid it all out there, exploring the personal side of the issues that impact our everyday life. With an overall sense of hope, he dug deep on falling in and out of love, the impact divorce has on families and the joys of parenthood.

At a time when the soul of our country and what we stand for is increasingly at stake, he cleverly finds a way to address some bigger issues on his equally lyrically provocative, musically engaging follow up Some Kind of Dancing.

As on all the best tracks, Smith brings a dark, robust, Springsteenesque vocal energy to his latest single, the soaring, mid-rocker “A Girl Named America,” personifying us, lamenting our plight and asking if we need a place to crash during this hiatus from sanity. That timbre of his voice is its clearest and most emotionally spot on as he’s whimsically lamenting the mythical “The Day Neil Young Died” over a crisp mournful guitar line. His sonic universe seems to have no limit, and that makes for an eclectic, if sometimes scattershot listen. Smith takes a grungy, industrial approach – with quirky, filtered vocals – to help convey the darker themes of “None of These Things” – all too hypnotic, punkish blues effect. “Blow Wind Blow,” for instance, is a sparse, scrape filled slice of poetic romance.

Then it’s back to the ramblin’ hard-chugging Springsteen territory on “The Flood” before the mournful acoustic reflection “The Sliver Moon” and the trippy psychedelic rock shouter “Goodnight Irene.” All wrapped in a soft folky bow with a hopeful glance at “Tomorrow,” in which he promises to love someone no matter what. Smith is a fascinating storyteller than leaves the listener on edge – not only for the next deeply felt line, but what genre he’s going to be diving into from track to track.

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