Making a name for themselves on the Beale Street club circuit is the Kirk Smithhart Band. Countless gigging has built up to give Kirk confidence in releasing independent CDs in the hopes of being recognized by major labels. Whether this pans out for this hard working young musician remains to be seen.
If commercial or overall success eludes him, there will always remain that strong cult grassroots following. Those who make a pilgrimage to Memphis and catch Kirk on Beale Street, will most likely buy from him his CD "So Long."
What people will get are 10 original cuts showcasing a young talent too good to be put on the back shelves of the blues industry in general. "10 Miles To Clarksdale" with its long acoustic intro jams into a real juke joint shuffle you can only get from the edge of the Dockery Plantation. "Home" synthesizes the playing of Stevie Ray, Tab Benoit and Alvin Lee into a Beale Street dance fest. Small wonder that the Kirk Smithhart band were the winners of the 1998 International Blues Talent Competition. And an Albert King Award is another feather in the hat. Particularly when Kirk acknowledges King in the slow sermon of "These Blues Won't Leave Me Alone." The kid can also play a pretty mean slide as he trys to compete with maybe George Thorogood in "Slide Baby."
Smithhart does conscientiously avoid becoming another Stevie Ray wannabe. Even "Cold To The Bone" that waves the Vaughn flag still bears Kirk's imprint of Memphis rock and blues. Kirk knows of those lovers who want to hold each other close on the dance floor as he slows the pace down with "Someday." Drummer Leroy Clay and bassist Tom Louis are the perfect fuses for the Smithhart cannon. Guest musicians Freddie Kirksey, Scott Thompson, and Art Edmaiston spike up the playing even more with B3 Organ, trumpet and sax fills that dot additional I' and cross more t.'
If I ever get to Memphis again, I will be sure to check out the Kirk Smithhart Band on Beale Street. Studio efforts are always one dimensional compared to a live performance showing where the real deals are always that.
Your purchase through this Amazon.com link helps to support this website.
You can now order other CDs, books, and videos from Blues On Stage in association with Amazon.com. Simply click on the logo at the left and shop! They have some of the best prices on the web and even offer some used product at lower prices.
"This review is copyright © 2003 by Gary Weeks, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission."
Copyright reuse notice: If you would like to reprint or use this review please include the above copyright notice, contained within the quotation marks, PLUS this statement: "Used with permission." Then send an email to Ray at: email@example.com indicating how you are using the review or the website page address it will be appearing on. Thanks!
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $50.
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.