Bell Buckle Records
BBR – 400
Two years ago, Valerie Smith teamed up with a group of musicians from the Maryland/DC area to form her new version of Liberty Pike, which now consists of Joe Zauner (banjo, guitar), Lisa Kay Howard (mandolin), Tom Gray (bass), and Wally Hughes (fiddle, guitar, resonator guitar). Not only did this change give her a more soulful and energetic sound, but it also gave her the openness to create her music with a direction focused toward everyday folks and everyday events.
On this project, Smith chose compositions from a variety of songwriters including David Morris, Everett Brown, Sara Majors, and Mitch Mathews. Songs include Mathews’ “Something About A Train,” Morris’ “So Long Lindytown,” Sarah Majors’ “Bluegrass Dollars,” Brown’s “Bottle Of Tears.” Smith herself contributed “Winter’s Dream” and “Farmer’s Prayer,” both written with husband Craig. And multi-award winning bassist Tom Gray offered “Bessie’s Tune.” Smith’s voice has grown a little huskier and she still has that sassy but sweet and bouncy delivery in her shows. This is probably the best band she has had, as they work together as a tight unit, blending harmonies and arrangements to fit Smith’s effervescent style. This is a great new direction for Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike. (Bell Buckle Records, P.O. Box 142, Bell Buckle, TN 37020, www.valeriesmith.net.)BF