Darden Smith didn’t need a big voice to deliver powerful show

Darden Smith sings to you not at you, in a voice that most times is just above a whisper.

I think that is what makes you really listen to his beautiful music. Smith’s music is as stark and expansive as the desert we live in.

Smith’s desert, as well as his musical canvas, is Texas and the Southwest and his music clearly reflects that image.

He sings what he has lived, with great songs about love, passion, loss, mortality, fulfillment and redemption. He sings of things that all of us have experienced in our lives, only he has a unique way of delivering his message.

All of the aforementioned is why Smith, 49, made such a connection with his audience at the Roper Ballroom on April 2.

An excellent crowd witnessed Smith as he thoroughly entertained for two hours with songs and stories about his life. Smith made quite an impression on everyone, including my son Matt.

In fact, Matt took four videos with his iPhone and posted them on Triple Play Record’s Facebook page.

It is a great feeling when you go to see one of your favorite artists with your son and he gains a whole new appreciation for that artist.

Smith started Saturday, April 2, at KAFM 88.1 FM community radio with an interview and playing some songs from his newest album, “Marathon.” He also talked about his Be An Artist Program.

Smith followed that up with an in-store appearance at Triple Play and we had a pretty good crowd. Smith played a few songs, signed autographs for anyone who wanted one and posed with a peace fleece blanket for a friend of mine. All in all he was a great sport.

The show started a little after 7:30 p.m. and during the first half of the show Smith played “Sierra Diablo,” “Escalator,” “Bull By the Horns,” “Mortal Coil” and “Over My Beating Heart,” from what I remember. All of these songs are from “Marathon.”

After a short break, Smith opened the show up for requests, and he did not disappoint anyone from what I could see.

Songs requested and played during the second hour included “Midnight Train,” “Frankie and Sue,” “Loving Arms,” “Perfect Moment,” “What Are We Gonna Do,” a very poignant version of “Broken Branches,” of which I learned the meaning of, and “Levee Song” relating a very funny story about his grandmother.

All of those songs are from his best of CD, “After All This Time,” about which Smith had this to say: “A European record label came to me and wanted to do a greatest hits CD. It threw me because I had always thought that you needed a few hits first.

“I wanted to call it ‘This is the Best I Could Do’ because I didn’t think ‘After All This Time’ was appropriate.”

During an encore, Smith covered Jackson Browne’s great song “These Days,” saying it was one of his very favorite songs. Mine too!

When Jimmy LaFave played the Roper Ballroom last September he covered Browne’s “Bright Baby Blues” during his encore. This proves to me that Browne is a great songwriter who is loved by many, including other songwriters.

After the show Smith came out to meet and greet the audience as well as sign autographs. He stayed until everyone had left the room. He visited with all of us, visiting with Matthew the most before calling it a day.

Smith said several times that he had a great time here. If he had half as much fun as the rest of us, then that is an understatement.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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