Home Read Albums Of The Week: Connie Smith | The Cry Of The Heart

Albums Of The Week: Connie Smith | The Cry Of The Heart

Husband Marty Stuart joins the Nashville icon on a set of timeless torch ’n’ twang.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Pain and heartbreak have permeated Connie Smith’s timeless country sound — and they pulse through The Cry Of The Heart, Smith’s 54th album, first release in a decade and her third collaboration with her husband Marty Stuart (who also produces the effort), who explains the long time between LPs: “She makes a record when she’s ready and nothing pushes her in that direction until she’s in the mood and space to do it and the songs are right.”

”How many teardrops have I cried over you,” Smith asks on album opener A Million and One, reintroducing listeners to her radiant, textured voice. She originally performed the track, a 1966 hit for her fellow Grand Ole Opry member Billy Walker, on Stuart’s show in 2014. “I heard A Million and One,” Stuart says, “and it’s like, “Ah, there’s the start of a record!” Smith and Stuart contributed two original tracks written together as well, the soaring Here Comes My Baby Back Again and weeper Spare Me No Truth Tonight. Other songs on The Cry Of The Heart include I Don’t Believe Me Anymore (the 72nd Smith song written by Hall of Fame songwriter Dallas Frazier) and Merle Haggard’s Jesus Takes a Hold, which is a reflection of Smith’s boundless faith in the midst of troubled times. Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Carl Jackson pens To Pieces and I’m Not Over You, the latter composed with classic country singer Melba Montgomery.

On the album Smith is joined by Stuart and His Superlative Band, Kenny Vaughn (electric guitar), Harry Stinson (drums), and Chris Scruggs (electric bass/ tak guitar). Others include long time steel guitar player Gary Carter, ace Neil Young alumnus Chad Cromwell and a host of legendary, A-team session musicians, namely Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano), Paul Martin (guitar/ vocals) and Justin Weaver (guitar).

Smith has been consistently fanning the country music flames since Once A Day, her first hit single in 1964, and has carried the torch ever since. In March of 2021 the Library of Congress announced that Once a Day was one of the 2020 selections for its National Recording Registry. “People ask me, ‘What is country music?’ ” says Smith. “I say, ‘To me, country music is the cry of the heart.’ We all have these experiences in our hearts and I’m trying to identify and communicate with people so they know they’re not alone.”