Smithfield Fair,
Winds of Time
(Stevenson, 2004)

Smithfield Fair's latest album, Winds of Time, is simple, acoustic folk music. After hearing the first few songs, I thought the band was somewhat comparable to Peter, Paul & Mary. Their voices are clear and the instrumentals are uncomplicated. There is no fancy electronic work involved -- just strong, smooth ballads, all of which are original Smithfield Fair compositions.

"Twice Around the World" is my favorite of these. Written by Dudley-Brian Smith, it is about a sailor who is lost at sea and trying to get back home. The instrumental interludes include the infamous "Sailor's Hornpipe," but it is played as a jig on the accordion.

As far as the entire album goes, it is nice at first -- but then, it all starts to sound the same. All of the songs are slow- to medium-tempo ballads. Because there are only three people in the band (Dudley-Brian Smith on guitar, Jan Smith on accordion and Frang Bladen on bodhran/percussion, with guests Bob Smith on acoustic bass, David Praet on acoustic guitar and Gina Forsyth on fiddle), the instrumentation is pretty much unchanging throughout the recording.

The album could actually use a couple more instrumental pieces to give listeners a break from all of the ballads. There are only two instrumentals and they are nice simply because they are different from the rest of the album.

I admire this band for using original compositions, but overall, this album just doesn't do it for me.

- Rambles
written by Kaitlin Hahn
published 30 July 2005

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