First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2004, Volume 11, #6
Written by John Metzger
Darden Smith is one of many well-respected singer-songwriters who, in an era marked by corporate consolidation and an emphasis on mass marketability, have been cast aside by the major labels. In 2002, after bouncing around the indie scene for the better part of 12 years, Smith developed a relationship with Dualtone, and the stability of his new home appears to have served him well for his latest effort Circo just might be his best outing to date. Though the haunted echoes of other Texas-based artists, such as Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett, and Alejandro Escovedo, lurk beneath the surface of his songs, Smith actually owes a greater debt to contemporary influences like David Gray, Glen Phillips, and Willy Porter as well as to the ’70s sounds of Jackson Browne, America, and The Eagles. Recorded with a little help from his friends — Shawn Colvin, Kim Richey, Lloyd Maines, Jim Lauderdale, and Suzzy Roche make appearances throughout the 11-song affair — Circo gracefully glides along its tear-stained path while also managing to embrace an easy-going peacefulness that succeeds in finding the beauty that lies within its ethereal allure.
Circo is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box