Steven L. Smith: Outside Of Tupelo – Steven L. Smith: Outside Of Tupelo CD reviewElly Roberts reviews

Steven L. Smith: Outside Of Tupelo
Distributed by
Vinyl Record Company

  • Released: Out now
  • Rating: 8/10

Red-neck country-blues… good too.

When you get a line like “I’m the redneck son of a gun” on the opening song, you know exactly watcha gonna git.

Well, actually, it’s not all bravado, because this album contains songs of loneliness, repentance, regret and love, so it’s not all macho stuff.Outside Of Tupelo isn’t one of those albums that get awards for crossing that commercial line that gets gongs at Country Music awards, which make this reviewer cringe.

Stephen L. Smith keeps his eye well and truly on the rootsier end of the scale which must be quite tough in terms of making the album appealing, but he’s pulled it off brilliantly.Whether you’re a country music fan or not, you can’t help enjoying this CD.

Basically this album works because the songs are top-notch (Smith is a rare craftsman) whether they’re the ballads like Firm Believer or Molly, both fit for radio play. As a teenager he listened to the best: The Band, Merle Haggard, The Allman Brothers and Kris Kristofferson. They’re all rolled into Outside Of TupeloSmith can swing with the best of them, and he does from the get-go, with gushing enthusiasm on blazing Woman On A Pole dressed with blues-tinged guitar licks and honky-tonkish piano.

The use of steel and slide guitars on Big Sky give it a warm and authentic country feel as the band shuffle nicely to the gentle beat.A bluesy opening guitar solo prefixes the love song that is I’ve Got You, paying tribute to his lover during tough times.

The title track chugs along to fiddle and mandolin dressings giving it an Irish mood with a modern country twist.The prominence of back-up singer Marcia Remirez on Cowboy Song turns the mid-tempo ballad into a modern classic.

The verdict: A great listen.

The full list of tracks included are :

1. Woman On A Pole
2. Big Sky
3. I’ve Got You
4. I Stole The Bible
5. Outside Of Tupelo
6. Firm Believer
7. Molly
8. Cowboy Song
9. Oregon


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