Myth of the Heart

Myth of the Heart

You have to wonder what they’re feeding them in Hays County. On the heels of Sarah Jarosz’s Grammy-nominated 2009 debut comes an album from another talented Wimberley ingenue. SAHARA SMITH began performing at age 12 and first played to a national audience at 15, when she placed second in a contest for young songwriters held by the Prairie Home Companion . Now 21, she’s rolled out some beautifully crafted pop-country for her full-length debut, MYTH OF THE HEART (Playing in Traffic). Superstar producer T Bone Burnett has “overseen” the album, and his team of session men have sculpted distant thundering from loose, malleted toms and sweetened the lush soundscapes with reverb-laden guitars. If this all sounds a bit methodical (not to mention reminiscent of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand , which most of these folks worked on), well, it is. But the sonic sophistication is almost beside the point. There may not be a lot of life experience behind Smith’s songs—“Train Man” suggests she has spent too much time with her Chris Isaak collection—but the title track, “Tin Man Town,” and especially “The Real Thing” (with the killer hook “Why don’t we drive all night and wake up in Laredo?”) are surprisingly seasoned and would be even if they had been stripped bare. Smith possesses the ease and vocal assurance of musicians twice her age. That and her considerable good looks (which she’s not above trading on) will undoubtedly swing a big spotlight her way.

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