Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cuts for Cooky: Alice Smith: Desert Song

Alice Smith is of the better crop of young musicians. Intelligent, down to earth, plenty of old skool going on and yet very today. There are better quality vids of her, but this performance shows how raw she can get. I love that her technique and range (4 octaves) never gets in the way like a much more popular singer who, just because she can hit coloratura -- I won't mention any names but her initials are "M.C.," that's "M.C." -- is given more weight and value in the marketplace. Like everything else in our culture, music is fast food too.

Smith's instrument is rich and powerful, qualities I dig - she's a real woman. In that sense she reminds me of one of my all time favorites, Sarah Vaughan. Part of that is she's in the alto range, but her appeal encompasses her impeccable taste (she writes well) and in never abandoning her boop, that raw edge. Throw in aesthetics, like her sticking with my favorite configuration for a band -- the guitar/bass/drums power trio, a slight touch of Broadway theatricality once in a while, and you get a musician with uncommon range who's gotta be bad. Rumor is Smith's sophomore effort drops this summer.

I like a lot of folks can get wrapped up throwing stones at the young kids of today. That's what living in a glass house'll get you. But the way I look at it, if they can produce an artist this good, they can't be all bad.

Press play to see what the fuss is about: