Friday, October 16, 2009

Reviews:: Meaghan Smith The Cricket's Orchestra

About a year ago, I put together some random thoughts on the dy-no-mite EP from London Ontario born and Halifax based Meaghan Smith. With a voice that transcends eras, but a penchant for distorted mellotron samples, banging percussion and plucky stand up bass, she’s kind of like a jazz artist for the new millennium.

Meaghan finally released her full length, The Cricket’s Orchestra and appropriately, the songs seem bigger and more full of life. The reality is, every time you hear Meaghan you can tell she was born to sing and understands that she’s living a once in a lifetime dream. More importantly, she doesn’t take any of this for granted. You can feel her soul dripping from each note. If You Asked Me still has that big band feel, but you get hit with a searing intensity this time around, something I didn’t really feel before. It’s as powerful as the flood light that locks on Smith as she owns the stage in a smoky little club after smoky little club.

She has the chops to pull of touching ballads, classic jazz and heartbreaking country, but what helps her stand clear of the pack is her creativity and experimentation. You can sink into the broken heart of the piano driven Drifted Apart or classic strings, horns and acoustic chords of Poor, but it’s more impressive when she creates a completely unique, modern sounding effort like like A Little Love. The plinky melody is catchy, but it’s the samples and scratches that push Meaghan from the cabaret to the today’s stages. She could easily pound out 11 classic songs and battle the Norah Jones’ of the world (just take a listen to Soft Touch), but the risks she takes are what helps define her own distinct sound.

Meaghan already seems bigger than life, or at least bigger than the audience her Halifax home can provide, but there is something honest about each and every note. Even as the arrangements build and sway, they still feel intimate. You feel like she’s singing every song to her closest friends, and just by listening you feel like you are getting to see a side of Meaghan most artists hide from the public. I can’t help but picture her singing with a huge smile on the finger snap ready Take Me Dancing and the infectious You Got Out and that makes me smile along with her. Not always the reaction you get from jazz ready arrangements, but one that is more than welcome.

MP3:: Meaghan Smith - Heartbroken

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Posted at 8:50 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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