Singer-songwriter Mindy Smith mines an indefinite middle ground of country, pop, and folk, anchored by a pretty soprano voice that ranges from a fragile vulnerability to a more formidable authority. The latter surfaces most prominently on "What Love Can Do," a galloping bit of sharp pop-rock on Smith's latest disc, Stupid Love (Vanguard Records), that suggests late-'70s Fleetwood Mac. Yet most of the album is more reserved, characterized by tasteful restraint, programming, and arrangements that tend to buffer the relationship-related emotions Smith explores in her songs. A native Long Islander, Smith has been in Nashville for a decade or so, but many of the country influences are subtle—although quite effective—when they do show up. The intimate "Surface," for example, not only sports Smith's keenest observations, her vocals take on an edgy Appalachian resiliency while an empathetic pedal steel whines away. 18+.
Mon., Oct. 19, 7 p.m., 2009