Last updated on May 1, 2016
Travis Smith‘s Wildness is a delicate, beautifully executed folk / acoustic pop record. Smith walks back and forth over the very muddy line that separates fingerpicked troubadour work (“St. Patrick’s Day,” “Wildness,” “Already Gone”) from James Taylor-esque pop work (“Temporary,” “Try”), creating great work in two related yet distinct arenas.
The unifying characteristic is Smith’s smooth, easygoing tenor; whether singing a yearning, legato pop melody or a more staccato folk tune melody, Smith knows how to get the best results out of his voice. The highlights here are when Smith gets the most vulnerable, as his lyrics and arrangements work together to make each other stronger. The title track and closer “St. Patrick’s Day” both move far beyond the standard love song / break up song that are stock in trade of both these genres and delve into the complexity of human relationships: relationships to family and to the land intertwine with the romantic concerns in a rich patchwork. The arrangements of both are similarly rewarding. Wildness is a record that will satisfy many different listeners who love the acoustic guitar played in a gentle way.