Mary Smith knows no other way to sing but from the heart. 'Heartsong' exemplifies her love of life and her love of music, and is superbly arranged and produced by Agnes-Marie Henderson. Henderson has brilliantly matched Smith's rich alto with innate artistry. With beautiful voice and effortless style, Mary Smith makes each song her own. Enjoy this musical mosaic and let 'Heartsong' wash away the dust of everyday life. ************************************************************ Mary Smith Introduces Stellar CD during Listowel Concert by Carolyn Parks Some things just seem destined to improve with time-wine, cheese, cognac, memories and performances. And when the beginning is already excellent, such things can then only become superb. So it is with Mary Smith, vocalist extraordinaire from Goderich. Smith's talent is undeniable and her presentation has always been relaxed and polished. However, the performance staged at Theatre 311 in Listowel on April 20th confirms that this gifted artist has reached another level. Accompanied by amazing keyboardist and arranger, Agnes-Marie Henderson, the two-hour concert brought a standing ovation from the sold out crowd who, of course, wanted an encore. Smith delivered on all fronts. Her confident stage presence and wonderful musical interpretation kept the audience in the palm of her hand. Henderson's arrangements flawlessly suit Smith's vocals. Her deft and creative keyboard magic makes it difficult to believe there's just one musician on stage with Smith. And Smith's pristine vocals can carry songs a capella. A match made in heaven. As impossible as it seems, Smith's pitch-perfect alto, so often compared to that of Canada's songbird Anne Murray, continues to develop. Your reviewer has been listening to this singer for nearly two years. It is abundantly clear that her opulent tone, phrasing and control lead to ongoing melodic interpretation that is pure Mary Smith. There is an unmistakable trueness and richness in Smith's lower register, while her upper range is sterling. Smith featured a number of covers and original pieces from her new CD "Heartsong"-a musical love letter between Smith and her biggest fan, husband Brad. Her impeccable "Always You," beautifully written by Henderson, was meaningful and emotive-and has 'hit' written all over it. Smith followed "Always You" with her version of Michelle Wright's "Your Love". The Smith/Henderson collaboration on that great song is more than comparable to the beautiful Wright/Brickman rendition. Connecting with her audience is something Smith does well, whether joking about being a singer, not a percussionist, as she picked up a tambourine for an upbeat number or talking about sending her new CD to songstress Jann Arden-who recently said that no one sounds like Anne Murray. Well, a number of audience members begged to differ-and told Smith so! Covering Burton Cummings' "I Will Play a Rhapsody" showcased Smith's versatility, as did her evocative version of Sting's "Fields of Gold". One of the many highlights of the concert was Smith's rendition of "God's Will" originally sung by Martina McBride. The hushed room hung on every note-and every note was perfectly delivered. Henderson's effortless touch and unique arrangements were deftly demonstrated in two piano solos, one of which was "Moments in Time," an original and moving composition. Roberta Flack would love the Smith/Henderson interpretation of "Killing Me Softly"-which appears on the new CD. Smith featured an original composition both at the performance and on her CD whose lyrics were written by North Perth native, Sandy Coghlin. "Let's Fly" speaks to anyone who hears it. The penultimate number was Rita McNeil's "Home I'll Be"-aptly and emotionally sung by Smith in her hometown with the audience joining in on the last chorus. Her encore piece was "The Melody in Me" included on "Heartsong" in an even fuller, richer version than ever. Home Mary Smith was. And they loved her!
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