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Music Review - `Anything Goes` by Roger Len Smith (dm)

Roger Len Smith - Anything Goes   (click on image to watch video)

21 February 2019

 

Roger Len Smith Album -

There are some records with opening songs that possess ultimate hospitality – inviting the listener to commit entirely to the musical experience. Roger Len Smith’s new album, Anything Goes, has such an opener. “Can’t Wait For Another Day” showcases Smith’s sharp lyrical turns of phrase, effectual vocal delivery, and simple, but dynamic arrangements. His band is nimble and deft in their execution of Smith’s material. Andre Mora, on electric guitar, quickly becomes a spotlight player, star of the show – rocking with raucous abandon, and also adding subtle touches with intelligence and discipline.

 

Anything Goes lives up to the lofty promise of its opener. Although all of the songs are solidly – and enjoyably – within the Americana genre, Smith proves himself a songwriter of emotive and sonic range, dealing with a wide range of topics through a pleasurable palate of musical variety. “Got to Thinking” and “Down at Juniors” swing with the same energy as “Can’t Wait for Another Day,” while “Anything Goes” and “Zander and Zoey” show a more tender and contemplative side of creative expression and exploration.

 

One obvious comparison is to Tom Petty, and not only because Smith’s vocal delivery resembles the late rock legend, but also because the sparse instrumentation and arrangements are deceptively simple. Smith’s sound is organic, but also rich.

 

An equally easy contrast to draw is between Smith and contemporary hits of country music. Listening to Anything Goes, one cannot help but think, and wish, that country radio sounded exactly like Smith’s songs.

 

 David Masciotra

 

 

David Masciotra (www.davidmasciotra.com) is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

  

 


 

 

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