David G Smith Album Review: "Witness Trees"
Artist: David G Smith Album: Witness Trees Release: 2023 Website: https://www.davidgsmithmusic.com/ Internationally acclaimed Artist-Songwriter David G Smith is an acoustic solo performer with a lyric-intensive style. His music is a blend of Folk, Americana, Country & Blues. David has released 10 albums that feature Grammy nominee Mary Gauthier and Grammy winner Keb Mo on four of them. His songs have been featured on TNT, Lifetime Network, and Travel Channel. I could write 10,000 words about this latest release ,Witness Trees. David's voice is warm, the songs are well crafted and impeccably recorded. This 11 song set runs the gamut through all the things that make a great Americana release. At times it reminds me a bit of the stripped down sound of Bruce Sprinsteen's Nebraska album. Not so much in style, but just the vibe that is embedded in the songs. David's voice pulls the listener into the world that these songs live in and makes you want to stay. The first track River Gonna Talk is simply perfect. It is bluesy and dirty. It features a repetitive acoustic guitar line that becomes hypnotic in its fantastic filth! The recording is layered perfectly with an organ part that adds quite a bit of funk to the production. The occasional slashing slide guitar lets you know this is deeply rooted in southern soul and blues.
Let's Take Our Time and Do It Right is a slinky little piece of blues music. The guitar comes in setting the shuffle in motion. It has a rolling piano that sounds like the keys are chipped and the finish is worn off. There is a faint guitar line throughout that sounds like the mic was placed across the street to capture that room sound. It took guts to pull the mic that far from the amp to get that sound. Whoever made that call deserves congratulations on it, because they couldn't have done it better than they did. That kind of attention and commitment to guitar tone would make Jimmy Page raise an eyebrow.
She's Gone is a cut that captures David in his most intimate setting. Primarily an acoustic finger picked guitar takes center stage with subtle instrumentation barely bubbling up, never interfering with a world class vocal take. He just seems comfortable within his skin and voice. The kind of comfort that is so relaxed and patient that it becomes calming to the listener. My favorite track is None of Em Dead. This one reminds me a bit of Mark Knopfler's solo work, particularly his song Sailing To Philadelphia. The vocal is as fluid as Knopfler's guitar playing, which I mean as the highest compliment. It's a story of some great ones that are gone, but maybe they're not. It is a masterpiece of a song. We live in a time where so much music is generated by computers, pitch corrected and compressed to the point that the air has been extracted. This album renews the hope for something real. Music that is actually played instead of programmed. Songs that tell stories and have interesting instrumentation and arrangements. Unfortunately, the art of songwriting seems to have disappeared from the mainstream. But know that there are artists like David G Smith out there in the dark corners of music venues that are still doing something that matters. Something that makes you smile because it's real. Something that makes your face contort a little bit because of the grit that comes from a swat of a dobro. This record embodies that sound. I highly recommend this album to those wondering what happened to well crafted songs and real players. This album is proof that they're still out there. Of the eleven songs there is nothing that even flirts with filler. As I said at the top of the review, I could write 10,000 words about it. But seven will do... It is just great and plain cool!