Poignancy & Strong Lyrical Passages Highlight David G. Smith’s ‘Who Cares’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Who Cares is the fourth album for singer-songwriter/guitarist David G. Smith, an Iowa-based artist who records in Nashville. The album was produced by and dedicated to the late Blue Miller (Bob Seger, Albert King, Isaac  Hayes, etc.). These are a dozen originals, either penned by Smith or co-written with Tom Favreau, Dean Madonia, Karen Leipziger and Blue Miller. The album is filled with friends, mentors and collaborators, including frequent kindred spirit Mary Gauthier who duets on “Shine.”

The album has many touching moments, as it came at an emotional cost for Smith who explains, “This project has been delivered at an incredibly high price -the loss of my Nashville producer…and friend…Blue Miller…..Ten days after we laid down the last tracks for Who Cares Blue’s wife called to day he was in the hospital. Fast forward 8 bumpy-road months later and he was gone. Gone before his time….Ironically, during the creation of Who Cares Blue and I co-wrote – “There will never come a time I won’t Remember You’. Who knew? A couple of months after he passed It was relayed to me that Who Cares was Blue’s last completed project. Again, who knew?”

The opener, “Where Is the Medicine?’ was inspired by Robin Williams and it a tribute to those who battle depression and emotional imbalance. The background vocals from Chante Caan are especially effective. “Jesse James” poses interesting questions about the legendary outlaw. We also find conflict in the dilemma of truck drivin’ Mary Alice, who tries to balance making a living with raising her two daughters. “just to Feel the Wind,” co-written with Madonia, is a real-life of tale of staring death lying face-up on a highway early in his life. “Without Water” is an environmental cry about the overuse and abuse of our freshwater supply.

Yet, perhaps the most poignant of these deeply effective songs is “Mi Familia,” co-written with Favreau. Smith says, “It’s based on the true story of a missionary who works in the trenches on the US/Mexico border providing food and comfort for the desperate who continue to flee hopelessness, poverty, and drug cartels…. When asked “why do you risk your lives,” these folks all relay the same answer – Mi Familia.” Given the state of the camps on that same border today, there couldn’t be a timelier song.

Another indelible song is “Shine” which begins with Smith’s nod to Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” that he transforms into a prayer, sung in duet with Mary Gauthier, who once inspired him at a songwriting retreat where they sang this same word a one-word duet. This one has the memorable and caring chorus – ‘If you’ve seen that light/Would you shine that light into this heart of mine/I will send that light back into the night/For someone else to shine.”

Smith and his co-writers have several outstanding lyrical passages. With Karen Leipziger, Smith has this take on temptation in “Right Amount of Wrong” –“Got a hundred reasons to stay, all of them strong. But come morning it would still add up to the right amount of wrong.” “Straw Houses” becomes a metaphor for a breakup – “Straw houses in a hurricane/Straw houses couldn’t handle the rain/My best intentions couldn’t protect us when the storm came/They were straw houses in a hurricane.”

The title track serves as the perfect closer to this set of thoughtful songs with several provocative lines like –“For every soul who hears the music of love, it doesn’t matter who cares, as long as somebody does.” Visit Smith’s website and you’ll quickly learn that he practices what he says, as ‘give-back’ is a major component of his career, donating time and/or money to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Boys Town, and many local causes.

David G. Smith cares. He has plenty of wisdom to impart. Listen up.

Photo by MRE Photography

 

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