It’s a bit of a rare treat these days to get a solid blues album crossing our virtual desks and so when it does it usually has a fairly high set of expectations to live up to. Thankfully Garry Smith’s self-titled debut album did exactly this when he presented it to us.
Smith has been treading the boards on stages up and down the country for years now, both in and out of various different bands and solo guises; but now he has finally settled on wandering the country with just the company of his beautiful guitar, good sense of humour and deft fingers. What you will notice immediately from his album is that Smith’s slide guitar is impeccable, finely honed and carries within it the true feeling of blues. There’s no way his music would be out of place in a bar deep in New Orleans on a moody Friday night. Indeed the album switches between the musical stylings of the blues; at one moment it’s a fast and jaunty anthem and then rapidly it’s a treacle-slow melody that slows your very heartbeat. Songs such as Expert in the Blues are the rough and ready blues tunes designed to get your blood pumping while songs such as She Moved Through the Fair are there to soothe you, winding down the album masterfully and allowing Smith the chance to show off his musical dexterity.
The English lilt to Smith’s voice gives his music a truly unique edge as his Americana brand of blues has such an authentically American feeling within it that it’s almost a shocking juxtaposition to hear his English accent alongside it. His voice is wonderfully suited to blues, clear and deep with just the right gravely nature to it to get true emphasis with his words. He compliments these fine vocals with a collection of original songs which he brings to life. His lyrics are one of the most notable things in his music since he has a tremendous, wry and slightly deadpan sense of humour and this is often carried across in his lyrics. The easy, good nature of his songs makes them incredibly easy to listen to and is more than enough to make sure that you’ll remember a lyric a few days later on the train and sit there chortling to yourself while people gradually edge away from you in fear.
It’s a bit of a change of pace these days to get an album that has such extensive and exquisite slide guitar on it and it is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
For more information on Garry Smith, check out his website here: