Review of Darden Smith

Music Reviews

Review of the Darden Smith album Marathon.

Marathon opens with the sound of a passing train, the shuffle of wind and brakes and steel on steel as the whistle cedes to a plaintive piano. What stands out in that opening sound is just how completely ordinary the train recording in – there is nothing contrived in it, no whistle fading off in the distance or steel guitar accenting the screech to a halt. It comes across as just a simple field recording – mundane even – as we stand witness to its movement, consumed in the inevitable effort of projecting onto it our own meanings, and whatever dynamic inertia that the train may represent becomes oppressed under a static contemplation. And that seems to be where Darden Smith finds himself with Marathon, overwhelmed and maybe even lost in that west Texas expanse. As he declares in “75 Miles of Nothing”, “The Truth is a one night stand blowing like a grain of sand, make whatever you want it to be, when you’re staring at 75 Miles of nothin’, there’s nothing to do, when you’re staring at 75 miles of nothin’, nothin’ but you.”

Though one of the longtime local songwriter’s finest offerings, Marathon is much more than simply an album. It needs to also be rightfully acknowledged as the decade-long multimedia project that it encompasses, and as the still evolving piece of philosophical art. As an album, Marathon steams with a restlessness, stews in a lonesomeness, and perches on the ledge of endless yearning without resolution. Yet while its pressing here may be rankled with a desperate kind of inertness, that possibility and desire that still simmers underneath may yet find realization, and provides the album with a kind of tension throughout.

Read the entire article by D. Freeman here.

1 thought on “Review of Darden Smith

  1. I forgot how much i love reviews. i wish i had the range of aptitude, discernment, and ability to put into words holistically and connectively the artistic impressions i get (or don’t get) into a ‘framework regarding life’ in much the same manner this musical assessment.

    It’s not often you see the words ‘philosophical art’ used in describing the goodpoints of a music album. i liked how the article quotes from the songs to lend credance to the reviewer’s assertions and to give the reader a feel for the artist. Well done! I’ll check this album out!

Leave a Reply