Laura Smith,
B'tween the Earth and My Soul
(Atlantica, 1994)

Laura Smith is a new name to me and I approached this album without any background information other than what is in the insert. That, of course, is how most albums should be reviewed. You get it, you listen, listen again and make your comments.

In general, as with all new artists, I found it difficult to decide on the music here. There is a very wide range of styles and from what I can gather the tracks seem to be written by Laura. I can only find one direct credit and that is for her additional lyrics to the old favourite "My Bonny." This in itself is refreshing. She takes an old song and give a Cape Breton feel to it. Well done, Laura.

"Four Letter Word" is a very good song -- perhaps my favourite on the CD. It is a crossword enthusiast's song. Can you give me a four-letter word for "lonesome," a four-letter word for "away" in a nine-letter word they call "down under"? I really would have like more of those cryptic clues. Laura admits to an addiction to crosswords, which explains this track. "Two Steps" is a good upbeat track that lifts the spirits even if the sentiments are a little down in some respects.

"Duine Air Call" is a haunting tune that bears re-listening to get its full beauty. It is based on the Gaelic for Adam and Eve as "lost and wandering souls." "Clean Up Your Own Backyard" she describes in the sleeve notes as being about the ecology of romance. It is a very clever song with love being discarded, re-planted and cultivated. I would have liked a less jazzy arrangement in order to better hear the words, however.

All in this entire album by Laura Smith shows great promise. Her use of language is poetic and inventive. I look forward to hearing more from her, particularly in the more reflective idiom.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 14 July 2001

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