Mindy Smith must have spent the last few years sorting things out in her head because you can’t overlook the candid, confessional tone of Stupid Love — a title that pretty much captures the tone of her new album. If she were still in hiding, emotionally speaking, the album would have probably ended up sounding vague and less revealing. Instead, she often writes about getting kicked to the curb and trying to heal from the experience. I don’t know if she’s out of the woods yet, but her thoughts seem to have cleared enough to write a solid stack of songs.
Miraculously, this album doesn’t sound dreary at all. A proud Nashville resident, Smith teamed with local producers Ian Fitchuk and Justin Loucks to create musical layers that sound really, really cool on headphones. Despite an appearance from Vince Gill on harmony, Stupid Love isn’t a country album at all, yet it draws on many of the same topics — heartbreak, faith, solitude and broken promises. She also submits her own rendition of “If I Didn’t Know Any Better,” a song she wrote with John Scott Sherill that Alison Krauss & Union Station recorded for their 2004 album, Lonely Runs Both Ways.
I’d go to Smith’s shows regularly before she had a record deal and I still believe in her talent. If you’ve been following her since One Moment More, give Stupid Love a chance — maybe a bit more than you would for an unfamiliar artist. The first time I heard it, I didn’t care for her sonic departure, although the lyrics and melodies intrigued me. The second time I wasn’t nearly as distracted. By now I’ve listened to it seven or eight times and I’m pleased to report that she’s made something truly beautiful out of trying circumstances.
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