Published Jul 12, 2016Having made a mark with the folk-oriented 2015 EP Loose Ends, Ontario singer/songwriter Bet Smith delves deeply into traditional country on this highly accomplished new full-length.
Descriptions of Smith as alt-country are off the mark, as this is authentic honkytonk (Lindi Ortega is a valid reference point). She has a robust voice that fits the genre perfectly, as do the fiddle work of Miranda Mulholland and pedal steel of Aaron Goldstein (Daniel Romano). The sibling rhythm section of Andrew and Rob Currie is equally effective, with Rob Currie doing double duty as producer. The material is salt-of-the-earth stuff, with Smith reportedly drawing upon her own blue-collar labouring experiences (she worked as a welder on the set of Drake's "Hotline Bling" video).
Things kick off in rompin' fashion with "Bakesale Angel BBQ Queen," featuring such witty lines as "a woman's place is no longer in the kitchen, hasn't she heard of Kentucky Fried Chicken?" There's a nice mix between ballads like "Stick With Me" (featuring male duet vocals), "If You Go it Alone" and "My Heart Doesn't Take Care" and uptempo tunes, with Smith sounding equally at home in both styles. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is is a fine effort. (Pine Lake Records)