Mindy Smith: Mindy Smith 

Giant Leap/TVX Records

After four critically respected albums but marginal commercial success, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Mindy Smith finally takes full control of the reins and moves in a fresh direction with a more pop-influenced sound. Smith has knocked around Music City for almost a decade, and while she never attempted to "cross over," she has diligently worked to refine her craft; and it's clear her songwriting has matured. Her swanky blues-influenced "Don't Mind Me" is a bit of a vocal stretch, but the slamming guitar work of Joe Pisapia adds a sharp edge that makes it work. There's still plenty of her trademark gothic lyricism, and her high lonesome voice still rings like a finely crafted bell. (3 out of 5 stars)

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