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Stereo Embers The Podcast: Darden Smith

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“Western Skies”

Darden Smith’s new project Western Skies is an ambitious and comprehensive multi-media affair that’s dedicated to the mythology and history of West Texas—it’s a new album, a book of essays, photography, spoken word pieces, song lyrics, a set of videos—this thing is a monster of a release. Influenced by Neil Young, Guy Clark and John Prine,
the Texas-born Darden Smith’s body of work dates all the way back to 1986. Since then, he’s put out a series of albums that consistently demonstrate he’s one of the best songwriters out there. From Little Victories to Deep Fantastic Blue to Everything to Western Skies, there hasn’t ever been a dip in quality for Mr. Smith. In addition to being an artist, Smith also founded the Be An Artist Program in 2003. The program’s mission statement is to bring arts and creativity into
educational settings. His collaborative songwriting work has found him working with homeless young adults, Botswana residents
suffering from HIV and both Israeli and Palestinian groups. In 2012 he founded Songwriting With Soldiers along with Mary Judd.
The group’s weekend retreats finds professional musicians paring with veterans and active duty service members sharing stories of both combat and re-entry into civilian life and turning those stories into songs. Speaking of songs, Western Skies is full of them and they shimmer and roll with melodic ease. Smith has never sounded better and the songs here are informed by memory, regret and the landscape of desire. Its beautiful work.

Stereo Embers

Twitter: @emberseditor
Instagram: @emberspodcast

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