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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Brydan Smith - Blue Skies EP

Brydan Smith - Blue Skies EP
2009, Brydan Smith

Brydan Smith is a Burlington, Ontario, Canada-based singer-songwriter with a penchant for serious, reserved songwriting and a pleasant voice. His debut CD, Blue Skies EP, will spark comparison to Ray LaMontagne, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, The Decemberists and perhaps even Nick Drake. Brydan Smith was inspired to pursue a career in music after seeing LaMontagne live a few years back, hoping someday to touch listeners the way LaMontagne’s music touched him.

Blue Skies opens with the title track, a pleasant listen that just didn't leave much of an impression other than the fact that Smith sounds a lot like Jack Johnson. Whiskey Dreams is a low-key folk tune about the urge to drown worries while working to climb out of the bottle and trying to live again. The song is very real to life and doesn't really convey a lot of hope that things will work out. Come Down features a soulful but repressed vocal from Smith. It's a great listen, although I'd like to hear Smith come out of his shell a bit more on the vocal line. Marianne is very similar in presentation; it's almost as if Smith the singer is holding back. The song itself is a beautiful tune, but the presentation here just doesn't quite do it justice; almost like a spoken word tune with accidental fluctuations in pitch. Bring Us Down doesn't change the direction of the album at all as the closer, sticking with a similarly monochromatic scheme.

Brydan Smith has a decent voice and a lot to say, but song construction and melody lines are too similar from song to song, and too compressed in range and dynamics to be very listenable over the course of an album or even an EP. There's almost a sense of monotone (ala Steven Wright) that pervades Blue Skies, a title that one might suggest is meant to portray hope for the future or better days ahead. Smith is a talented lyricist, but the presentation of the songs can be tough to tackle.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Brydan Smith at, where you can purchase tracks from the Blue Skies EP. No word yet on CD distribution.

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