No Label
No Number

Olivia Smiley is a young, Indiana fiddler/singer/songwriter with confidence and a wealth of talent. This is her second recording and is backed by her band, Main Street, that includes guitarist/vocalist Jeff Guernsey, banjoist Klint Brown, and bassist Kolin Brown. Michael Cleveland guests throughout on mandolin.

The project opens with two covers and closes with two covers. Of those four songs, the standard “We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart” and the cover of Osborne and Pete Goble’s “Windy City” deserve mention. Of particular note is the arrangement of “We’ll Meet Again…,” on which Smiley and Guernsey trade the lead vocals. It makes for a nice twist and is underscored by a chugging rhythmic snap.

The true heart and interest, however, lies in the eight original songs and two original instrumentals contributed by Smiley herself—specifically, four of them. The first is the slow, threequarter-time “Love Left For You,” which expertly blends a gospel-style melody and a marching rhythm in the vocals. It is the album’s highlight. Then comes the wonderful imagery of “Seems Like Yesterday,” in which a house once wellkept declines as a father, now alone, does the same. The next is “I’ll Be Home,” a song that recalls the work of Claire Lynch in its use of direct lyrics and a great melodic hook; the extended solos are also welldone all around. The last of the quartet is the country-swing instrumental, “Bitter Creek,” which features Smiley’s liquid and bluesy fiddling from start to finish over a snappy, closedchord rhythm.

You could stop there and claim success, but the two aforementioned covers, a couple of lesserbutgood originals, and some tight instrumental support throughout make it all the more so. (Olivia Smiley, P.O. Box 263, Greensburg, IN 47240, www.oliviasmiley.com.)BW