Matt Smith is a hell of a guitar player; his clean, jazzy chords and scorching lead lines were a hallmark of his bygone band The Betty Ford Experience. But he’s also a capable songwriter and balladeer.
What: Matthew Smith and Friends
Where: Conundrum Music Hall, 626 Meeting St.
When: Sunday, May 4, 7 p.m.
Price: $10 (includes CD), $5 under 16 (no CD)
More Info: conundrum.us
Acoustic ballads make up the entirety of the lo-fi Bedtime Stories. There’s an inviting hiss that evokes memories of Tascam four-tracks without dulling the brassy brightness of the acoustic guitars. It’s an effect that’s played up effectively on the dreamy title track, which layers jangly chords and winsome melodies over grainy snippets from what are either answering machines or late-night infomercials. The closing “Say Goodbye” works similarly, pairing a close-mic’d nylon-string guitar with roomy steel-string strums and a whispery vocal line. Other cuts are indebted to radio-ready but left-leaning pop from the late ’80s and early ’90s: “U & Luck” evokes Big Country with its ping-ponging delayed melody lines. “Long Lines” drifts lazily like The Sundays until its halftime coda — though the “First you rewind / Then you’re unkind” reference is egregiously dated.
As was the case with Betty Ford, Smith’s voice is a love-it-or-leave-it proposition; his quirky vocal mannerisms often assuaged by his songs’ kinetic energy. It hindered some of Betty Ford’s ballads, and it’s an occasional detriment on Stories. But there are times, as on “Say Goodbye” and the vampy “By the Fire,” when his charming earnestness supersedes his vocal limitations.
Bedtime Stories is a pleasant listen, but too many songs share similar chord progressions and drift to the same swaying tempos, giving an unfortunate sense of déjà vu to some of the disc’s second-half tracks (particularly “Words of a Song”). These modestly adorned cuts mostly sound like demos, sketches waiting to be filled in by other component players.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
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U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Real Estate Spotlight
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors Welcome To Our Neighborhood! Work With The Best! CBCarolinas.com