Smith's vivid and surprising imagination brings us another quirky
–and winning– cast of characters from true crime and pop culture.
With the release of the CD album Old Man Dancing, American songwriter Michael
Smith reclaims his rightful place as "Master of the Story Song" (Paul Zollo, Songtalk).
“I made this recording for the same reason I made all the other ones, which is to
examine sound possibilities for the songs I write.”
In this his first solo studio recording since Anthology in 2005, Smith accompanies
himself on multiple guitars, bass and percussion in just-right musical arrangements that
underscore his multiple gifts as lyricist, composer and performer.
In nine songs, Old Man Dancing introduces a quirky and loveable cast of characters –
from true crime stories (Accokeek and Ballad of Phil Spector), pop culture (Roger Maris,
Ballad of Dorian Gray), the movies (Edward G. Robinson, Lash LaRue) and conjured up from
Smith’s vivid and surprising imagination (Poor Maurice).
Smith gets personal, too. Set in the mining town of Pittston, PA (home of his paternal
grandparents) and based on childhood memories are Sure Has Grown (which tells of
young Michael, oldest son to Helen and Gene) and the simple and elegant Pittston
Stove, which ends the album.
With Pittston Stove, Smith brings to life an iconic and long-gone symbol of 1940s family
life that radiated warmth through crowded kitchens, past back porches and railroad
yards...yet eludes the storyteller.
“Though I've been writing songs since I was a teenager, it didn't occur to me for a long
while that I should learn how to open my songs out for myself, instead of explaining it
to other people and, though it's not my nature, attempting to be cooperative with them
on their own visions.“
In Michael Smith’s Old Man Dancing, we encounter an unlikely grouping of people and
stories, and in time, perhaps, come to grasp the inner world of this master songwriter
still in his prime, with much more to say.