Sonny Smith 

This Is My Story, This Is My Song

Local fave Sonny Smith is only 31, but he's led the kind of rambling, gamboling, myth-making life that the Beats and hippies championed: playing endless piano sets in smoky blues bars, living in a commune in Costa Rica, wandering through Central America playing music and, of course, writing poems, stories, and songs. This Is My Story is his first album, but Smith already has a style all his own, based in part of his flowing, imagistic stream-of-consciousness lyrics and minimalistic style.

Like Dylan, Reed, and Waits, Smith has an intriguing sing-speak style, although he's a bit more melodic. The accent here is clearly on the lyrics, and Smith has a way of letting the storyline wander at random before making it double back and resolve itself, tying up all the loose ends into a concise little package of darkness and despair. At first listen "Milk Cow" sounds like traditional Southern mountain music with its sparse banjo-pluckin', but the lyrics paint an existential and confusing picture of life's petty frustrations, as does "Dead End Road," a grim exploration of life in the slow lane. And "I Pushed It" sounds like a surrealistic noir movie about some Vegas-like scene, oozing faux sincerity with its weeping violin and sleazy clarinet. There's nothing bright or bouncy here, but if you like your darkness straight up with no chaser, this just might be your cup of belladonna.

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