Sky Smeed | Mill River

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Country: Country Rock Rock: Americana Moods: Type: Vocal
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Mill River

by Sky Smeed

"A rollicking bunch of songs, with Smeed stretching emotionally, compositionally, and hitting every mark full stride." Paul Rapp Metroland
Genre: Country: Country Rock
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Nothing to Fear
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4:22 $0.99
2. Shame Shame Shame
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2:33 $0.99
3. Mill River
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3:20 $0.99
4. Love Again
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4:59 $0.99
5. Sally
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4:59 $0.99
6. Tonight I Will
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4:55 $0.99
7. The City
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5:34 $0.99
8. Did We See Each Other
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3:58 $0.99
9. Dear Grandpa
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4:27 $0.99
10. Long Long Time
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5:10 $0.99
11. Amarillo Sun
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4:08 $0.99
12. Never Works Out
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13. I Still Miss You
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Sky Smeed

Mill River (self-released)

Berkshires-by-way-of-Kansas Sky Smeed’s first two CDs were wonderful, unhurried affairs. Great songwriting, expressive singing, but much was downtempo, often to the point of being zen-like. Nice and quiet.

This new one, Mill River, is something else again. Recorded mostly live in three days at New England folk mecca Signature Sound Studios, Mill River is a rollicking bunch of songs, with Smeed stretching emotionally, compositionally, and hitting every mark full stride. With Mill River, Sky Smeed goes toe-to-toe with the great Texas singer-songwriters like Jack Ingram and Robert Earl Keen. He’s that good, and he’s that distinctive. He’s got the kind of sweet voice that’s recognizable after a first listen, and he writes unforgettable songs.

The hard-boogieing “Tonight I Will” peels the paint, with Smeed yowling about tearing it up on a Friday; “Amarillo Sun” has a majestic and poetic darkness that’s sniffing around Patti Smith’s territory; “Nothing to Fear” is a slice of small-town boy optimism, winding up with a gypsy-like charge and Smeed singing in long notes “We’ve nothing to fear” over and over again. “Love Again” is a staggering epic, starting out as a tepid little woe-is-me lost-love number, building steadily over five minutes to a furious, violent conclusion, with the singer’s character shooting his ex-darlin’s new man. His take on Jimmy Reed’s “Shame, Shame, Shame” leaves the cosmic country stuff behind and shows that Smeed is perfectly capable of taking on the baddest roadhouse. Line ’em up.

Smeed’s also got one of the most sure-footed bands in the region. The rhythm section of Andy Crawford (drums) and Dave Christopolis (bass) is simply extraordinary in every respect; Jack Waldheim plays guitar and mandolin with taste and restraint, coloring the songs while leaving most of the solo work to the terrific pedal-steel player Pete Adams, who gives the tracks a distinctive county twang.

Something tells me Smeed’s not long for this local-musician stuff. Way, way too good for that.

—Paul Rapp


Reviews


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seth rogovoy

Sky Smeed really hits his stride. He’s always been a good songwriter
On his new CD, Mill River, his third, Sky Smeed really hits his stride. He’s always been a good songwriter and an effective vocalist, but this time out, Smeed attacks the baker’s dozen tracks, eleven which are self-penned, with the sort of ferocity and aggression that, frankly, we didn’t even know he had inside. The result is a torrid journey through country-influenced rock that at once sounds fresh while at the same time recalling John Mellencamp’s finest earliest efforts. Smeed is equally gifted in matching lyrical hooks to musical hooks, and his narratives have a force of maturity and authority that belie his youth. Plus he’s found the perfect band this time around to support his majestic melodies, and the arrangements are both rootsy and dynamic.—Seth Rogovoy, Berkshire Living Magazine/WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network

Tim Schaefer


I heard about Sky Smeed's new cd a few months before it was released, and the buzz it created gave me
great expectations. I've been a fan going back to his debut Flying High and that one earned a spot on my list of must have Desert Island cds. Now Mill River comes along and its become a contender. Mill River represents a shift in style that could be the one to open doors for Sky Smeed. His ability to put story to song often makes me think of Jim Croce, Steve Forbert, early Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown with a dash of Uncle Tupelo.
Mill River offers a more upbeat approach to the music, one that will get folks on the dance floor. Both robinhoodradio.com and WKZE have added the album to current rotation and his cover of Shame, Shame, Shame as already had phone reaction from listeners.

Call me biased, but I think Mill River is a great cd that clearly shows the evolution and expierience of a very talented artist on his way up. Even among the more up tempo songs, Sky goes back to his roots with some beautifully crafted quiet songs that are almost his trademark. I've often said that sooner or later a label will pick him up and he'll be on his way. It could'nt happen to a more deserving artist, and one thats paid his dues.

Tim Schaefer
WKZE-FM