Review: David G. Smith – ‘First Love’
David G Smith is a singer/songwriter who, on his 3rd studio album, First Love, delivers 10 original songs.He sounds very much like James Taylor. But on First Love, there is a theme running through the recording of learning to face and deal with the unknown which, on the lighter sounding songs especially, gets a little creepy when you really listen. This is an album which has layers on layers.
This theme appears in the very first song, “Fear,” In it, Smith faces and beats fear in a fairly common scenario.. This is to emphasize that it can be done. In “First Love”, Smith explores loss and trying to start over’ “Questions” uses the scenario of a grandparent talking to a child to explain that some questions just can’t be answered. This one is a heart-breaker.
Then there’s “Nightlife in The Stix,” which is a rollicking country blues with tasty fiddle and stand up bass that contrasts innocent pleasures and more complex lust. “Lost in You” is such an intense love song that love sounds almost like an addiction.
Other songs are lighter and really evoke the folk-rock of Taylor and other songwriters of that era, In the case of ‘Ocean Soul,” one hears the echos of Jimmy Buffet. It is, at least at this point of listening, the most serene of the songs.
“Carrie” is a sweet song enhanced by strings about a girl who is perfect the way she is, but then there are those who would change her and those words add that theme of danger and having to overcome the dark. yet again.
A favorite track is “I Can’t Tell,” a bouncy tune about the stories Smith can’t tell.. Keb Mo adds some great resonator guitar and an unidentified female singer (I think it is Mary Gauthier) )really turns this into something special. At first it just sounds like a cheerful song but then you start to really listen to the words and I just don’t know what to say about it all..
“I Got It All’ is another song that sounds similar to Buffet at his more serious. It’s about having everything except the most important thing.
The contrast between Smith’s laid-back sound and style and the words he has written is fascinating. At a casual listen this is a light-hearted album. At a closer listen, it really isn’t.
Whatever it is, it is different and interesting and well worth a listen.