Totally Biased Fan Review: Something Worth Learning – Smith and Jones

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I think that it is very apt that a Johnson reviews an album by Smith and Jones. Also, because I was raised in Tamworth and went to uni at Bathurst, it is apt too. The fact that two of my fave people, Michael Carpenter and Kylie had a wee bit to do with this album, and mainly because it is just bloody good.

My mate, Bruber and I downloaded this from iTunes last weekend and we listened to it and marvelled at it…so much that we played it about 3 times on the way to other gigs, and then we made sure that we were going to a certain gig next weekend at The Union Hotel in Brunswick:

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I debated whether to do this review before or after, since I prefer to do reviews from a solid copy, but brother Michael Carpenter sent me the credits and I am much happier with that. The girls are also doing other gigs in Melbournetown and surrounds, so check on that as well.

I am a big Janis Ian fan, thus, as soon as I heard some songs on this, I said to Bruber, hey, this reminds me of someone. I went through Joan Armatrading, which is close, then thought, no, it is Janis Ian. If you plug into a Janis Ian album, you will get it. I am from that generation, so is producer, Michael, so he will understand. These songs, all written by Smith, are just amazing. Maybe folks wouldn’t think of Janis Ian as country, but she is folkish, and to me, Folk always came first, and is closely aligned with country. It is my fave kind of the 79 types of country.

There is not a bad song on this album. I love all of them, from the more tender songs to the upbeat ones.

It is great for a Sunday afternoon, mellowing and peaceful. I know that the girls are a lot younger than Michael and I, but they may know who I think that they are channelling. Michael always does an amazing job, and he covers so many kinds of music.

The musicianship is simple. There are no complicated or overdone musical instruments, the vocals are the most important thing.

Running from Something is slightly different to the other songs, it has a touch of Dylan to it…probably the harmonica, then it is turned into more of an upbeat track. The girls mix it up but keep it to the Janis Ian, Indigo Girls type of music. It is an album that you can play over and over again and reveal the levels of the songs but at the same time just relax and enjoy the vibe.

The quality of songwriting and vocals and harmonies on this album are pretty well second to none. Under the guiding light of one of the greatest in Aussie music, Michael Carpenter, these girls are just damn fine winners. It is hard to fault, and I am not in the business of faulting. Buy the album, go to the gigs, you will not be disappointed. You will be enlightened.

Breathe it in folks. This is music at its finest.

Bettersmithandjones

 

 

Tracks:

As I Am

Runaway

Secondhand Heart

One Last Time

Last Night I Saw Jesus

Running From Something

Every Year Around This Time

In the Middle of the Night

Right Into the Heart

The Train Song

Love Lives in darkness

 

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Totally Biased Fan Review – Holy Smoke – Ingrid Mae

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On the recommendation of some country musos, I ordered a single of Ingrid’s and liked it so much, I pre-ordered the album. As most people know, I prefer the hard copy cd, which I will get eventually, but when you get an iTunes download, they top up the songs as they become available and eventually send you the whole album. I had just received all the tracks yesterday morning but had to go to work so I had planned to review it in full yesterday afternoon on this morning. I had Leonie McClure’s 2RRR show on the radio and who should pop in to the studio but Ingrid Mae. Coincidence? Omen? Maybe. She had her album launch last night in Annandale in Sydney.  With her talking about some of the tracks (until I had to open up at work) – it helped with writing this review, as there is not that much information around and without having the details from an album cover, the interviews help. If you look through the titles of  some of the tracks, you will see that some of them are quite quirky. That comes across in her personality (similar to Susan Lily and Melissa Robertson). These three girls have big, fun personalities but they also write songs to think about.

It was refreshing to hear her say that “We have enough songs for another album but we want to see how this one goes first.” That is a great sign for us fans. Ingrid Mae’s voice is like if you put Rose Carleo, Bonnie Raitt and Pam Tillis in a blender. That’s a good thing, by the way folks.

Her songs are honest, relatable and range from easy ballads to soulful, bluesy and rock chick tracks. Well written, polished and well produced.  I can imagine her performing these songs LIVE.  I reckon that she would be funny and energetic and entertaining.

Leonie sent me a message yesterday, asking if I was still listening. I was until the moment that I had to open up the doors at work. I really didn’t want to turn it off. You will feel the same way when you play the album. I have now played it 8 times.

There is something for everybody on this album. Paul Mac produced it, and no doubt played some drums on it, and he does a great job. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the credits, so I can’t tell you who played what, but I do know that Ingrid wrote all the songs, maybe some of them were co-writes.

She has a voice that changes according to the song that she sings. There are 14 songs on this album, something that is virtually unheard of these days. They are all different and all winners.

Some are big and ballsy, others are laid back and require a merlot and a box of tissues. The last song is a heartbreaker and probably my favourite. This is definitely one of my favourite albums of the year so far and there are a few shower songs and toe tappers on here as well as more mellow tracks.

Holy Smoke, Batman, this is a rippa. Listen to it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Tracks:

Choosy

Magnetic

Undoin’ the good

45

The way you leave me

As the Crow Files

I love the bends

Bring i

Saloons N’ Outlaws

New Squeeze

Hell Bent

Holy Smoke

Mason Breakin’

An Angel Said Hello