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D. Smith

Idioma disponible: inglés
A singer and songwriter whose music fuses country, folk, rock, and blues with a literate but unpretentious lyrical perspective, Darden Smith is an artist whose music has evolved steadily over the course of his career. Early albums, such as Native Soil (1986) and Darden Smith (1988) put his country and folk leanings up front. By 2002's Sunflower and 2004's Circo, he had turned down the twang in favor of a spare, smoky folk-rock tone that suited the emotional terrain of his songs, exploring the soul with compassion and steely honesty. While his songs grew more introspective with time, 2017's Everything and 2022's Western Skies were the work of an artist who could still speak to his listeners with warmth and intimacy. Darden Smith was born in Brenham, Texas on March 11, 1962. Smith first became interested in music after being swayed by the power of the pipe organ at church, as well as seeing country bands playing at local dances. Smith started taking guitar lessons when he was in third grade, and was writing songs when he was ten years old. As a teenager, he fell under the sway of Texas singer/songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, and while attending college in Austin, his tastes expanded to embrace new wave songwriters such as Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and Chrissie Hynde, as well as blues and reggae. Smith began playing regularly in and around Austin, both on his own and as part of a bluegrass band called the Ramblers. In time, Smith developed a significant local following, and in 1986, he recorded his debut album, Native Soil, which included guest appearances from Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, and Joe Ely. Originally released on Smith's own Redi-Mix label, Native Soil was soon picked up for release by the noted Texas independent label Watermelon Records, and the album brought Smith to the attention of Epic, who signed him to a record deal. Three songs from Native Soil reappeared on Smith's self-titled Epic debut, which produced two minor hit singles, "Little Maggie" and "Day After Tomorrow." But while Epic chose to market Smith as a country act, his music began became more introspective as his songwriting matured, and in 1989, he released a collaborative album with British songwriter Boo Hewerdine, Evidence. In time, Epic handed Smith over to the pop music division of their sibling label Columbia Records, and his next two albums, 1990's Trouble No More, and 1993's Little Victories, won good press, while the song "Loving Arms" scraped the lower levels of the Top 100 singles charts. Uncertain of how to market Smith, Columbia dropped him from their roster, and in 1996 he released Deep Fantastic Blue through the independent Plump Records imprint. In 2000, Smith re-recorded a handful of his best-known songs for the album Extra Extra, and 2002 saw the release of Sunflower, his first album for Dualtone Music. Smith cut two more albums for Dualtone, 2004's Circo and 2005's Field of Crows, followed by a limited-edition live album, 2006's Ojo. Ojo was issued by Smith's own Darden Records, which also issued a studio album, 2010's Marathon, and a 2009 compilation, After All This Time (The Best Of). Artist-friendly independent label Compass Records issued 2013's Love Calling, and Smith issued Everything, his 15th album, in April 2017. Everything featured guest appearances from Beth Nielsen Chapman, Kelly Willis, David Mansfield, Charlie Sexton, and Roscoe Beck. After the release of Everything, Smith took a break from songwriting and gave serious thought to retiring as a recording artist. That changed in 2020; Smith was traveling frequently between his home in Austin, Texas and Arizona, where he was conducting writing workshops. The long drives and frequently empty landscapes sparked his creative impulses, and he was soon dictating ideas for stories and songs into his smartphone while on the road. In time, Smith's musings had grown into an ambitious project, 2022's Western Skies, an album that was accompanied by a book featuring photos, essays, and poetry, as well as an additional disc of readings from Smith. In addition to the multimedia edition, Western Skies was also issued as a stand-alone CD and LP. In addition to his work as a songwriter and performer, Smith is also part of several creative outreach programs. Founded by Smith in 2001, the Be an Artist Program was designed to encourage creative expression among young people at risk. Smith is also one of the founders of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, in which gifted songwriters work with soldiers and veterans to use music as a means of dealing with the trauma of combat. And he's also lent his talents to academic and private organizations as part of programs designed to bolster creative thinking.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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