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Colin Smith makes his solo debut with The Wilderness

August 31, 2010

Are lead singers born with a specific gene or extra chromosome that forces them to take a solo hiatus from their band mates and go at it alone? Or is just a rite of passage in the music industry? Dave Matthews did it. Brandon Flowers is doing it. Colin Smith, the lead singer for the Dublin alt-rock band MRNORTH, is also following suit.

Colin takes the term singer/songwriter, strips away the sticky-sweet overtones, and boils it down to its most basic, literal sense. He writes songs. He sings those songs. (Even his name is simple and to the point. Colin Smith: You don’t get more basic than that.) All he needs is an acoustic guitar — but a knack for catchy, intriguing lyrics and surprising harmonies doesn’t hurt his cause either; his debut alum, The Wildness, is true testament to that. And once you’ve streamed through the 10 tracks, Colin Smith goes from just another face in the crowd to a name you’ll probably never forget.

The opening track, “Love,” starts off simple as an acoustic ballad. It leaves you aching for more. You feel the temperature rising. At 2 minutes in, you’re hit with it full force. Even though it starts off slow, the good stuff at the end was totally worth the wait. Take a listen for yourself and watch the video below.

While “Love” sets the tone for the rest of the album, it’s far from the song that leaves the biggest impression. The follow-up “Scratch” takes a harder approach, showing off an impressive range of vocals that are easily his selling point. But after giving the album a once over, the raw truth of  “Drunks prefers Lies” was stuck on repeat in my head.

Like most singer/songwriters, Colin leads with his emotions, emotions that drip from ever nook and cranny of the album. His songs, which have an eerie resemblance to something you’d hear from Micheal Tolcher, get you to the heart of matter. It doesn’t even matter that most of them cover a topic that’s more than over done. The way he words it makes it seem like an entirely new subject.

Colin’s also more concerned with relating to his fans than having a heavy cash flow come in. Sure, that’s a line most up-and-coming solo singers add to their repertoire, but with, Colin, it’s believable. Just take a look at his Facebook and Twitter page and you’ll see an engaging stream of conversation.

If that wasn’t enough evidence, he’s letting fans bypass iTunes (and the $9.90 download cost), giving them the option to download The Wilderness free of charge from his website because “it is more important that as many people as possible are able to have, love, and listen to the album than it is for me to make 99¢ a song…” His words, not mine. All he asks in return is to blog, tweet, link, share, add, whatever his music to your network. Not a bad price for an album that’s repeat-listen worthy, if you ask me.

The verdict: Support your aspiring singer/songwriters and splurge on The Wilderness.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 6:41 pm

    Not to be a smart ass…

    But is it “right a passage” or “rite of passage”?
    Sorry, just jumped out at me. Otherwise, like the post, even though I have never heard of this band or the singer before.

    • Erin Everhart permalink*
      August 31, 2010 8:23 pm

      Not at all! I definitely appreciate and welcome any content corrections. Four eyes are always better than two! And you’re right, it’s “rite of passage.” Thanks for catching that!

      You should definitely check him out. I’ve added him into my iTunes and can’t get enough. If you’re into singer/songwriters, he has a similar feel for Gavin DeGraw and Jason Mraz, but entirely more creative and more unique — if that helps.

      Thanks for commenting!

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