Goldmine review; Rootstime magazine, Belgium,Feb 09.

Phil Smith gives us 11 songs on his debut album, in a style we can describe as Americana inspired country and folk songs. Being a Nick Drake, Ryan Adams, Neil Young and James Taylor fan, he decided to dedicate himself to this style of music. Just like his idol Ryan Adams, he too wants to make lovely, melodious songs telling an enchanting story. The lyrics give us an insight into the things he’s been through in his turbulent life, and those things he’s still suffering from. They explain stories of love and losing love, drink, drugs and their consequences, traveling and the longing to find a home.

The album was recorded in a remote house in northern New South Wales and is mainly based upon acoustic guitar, but with the subtle addition of other instruments like piano, pedal steel, organ and violin. Most of the songs that made the album are melancholic contemplations, like the country ballad ‘(I’ll Walk The Line) One More Time’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Everybody’s Going Somewhere’, Where Does It Go?’ with the lovely backing vocals of Roz Pappalardo, the sad ‘The Grave Of Margaritis’, ‘Home Around Three’ and ‘Mary’. Fortunately Smith gives us an up tempo song now and then, like ‘Annie’ and ‘Baby Doll’. In ‘One More For The Road’ we can find both tempos, starting with the slow beginning and altered with the swinging pedal steel solo and outro chorus. Sara Tindley provides the amazingly beautiful backing vocals for this one.

If Phil Smith was trying to make a record creating the same sort of melancholy vibe that has won Ryan Adams so many fans, then he has succeeded gloriously. And with Adams recently announcing his (supposed) retirement, his successor may well have arrived, in Phil Smith, looking for his own ‘Goldmine’.

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