Home Read Albums Of The Week: Connie Smith | Love, Prison, Wisdom And Heartaches

Albums Of The Week: Connie Smith | Love, Prison, Wisdom And Heartaches

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On her 55th album Love, Prison, Wisdom And Heartaches, legendary country singer Connie Smith takes a different approach from Cry Of The Heart, her critically acclaimed 2021 effort.

This time out, Connie has chosen to interpret songs that were originally sung, played or written by fellow country legends like Dottie West, Skeeter Davis, Liz Anderson, The Glaser Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Jim & Jesse, George Jones, Roy Acuff, Merle Haggard and Dallas Frazier. And while the list of songs has been in the established country canon seemingly forever, Smith’s take is more of a tribute than a recreation. When asked if this is a covers record, Smith replied, “No. Hardly. I’m singing on behalf of my friends. Hoping to share them while passing along their songs.”

Smith’s radiant, textured voice reimagines the very best songwriting and vocalists from the country catalog. Her vibrant style shines bright on Beneath Still Waters, made famous by Jones. It is also the 73rd song Smith has recorded written by Hall of Fame songwriter Frazier. Smith breathes new life into One of These Days, originally recorded by the Glasers, and deftly redefines Haggard’s No. 1 hit The Fugitive. She pays homage to West and classic country themes on Country Girl before taking Lynn’s obscure World of Forgotten People to new heights with her soaring, ageless singing. Smith’s indelible imprint radiates through the sunny Seattle before taking the beloved country hymn End Of The World into the stratosphere.

And as far as Smith’s recording process goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. On Love, Prison, Wisdom And Heartaches, Smith reunites with her longtime collaborators: Gary Carter on steel guitar, Hargus “Pig” Robbins on piano (this was his last effort with Smith before he passed in 2022), and of course, producer (and husband) Marty Stuart with his band of Fabulous Superlatives. Stuart sums up the album this way: “Love, Prison Wisdom And Heartaches is a monument to the heart, soul, and timeless beauty of traditional country music. I have no doubt that this record will serve as a North Star for those who look for the divine spark in country music.”

An 11-time Grammy nominee, Smith has been consistently carrying the country music torch since her 1964 hit single Once A Day. In March of 2021, the Library of Congress announced that Once A Day was one of the 2020 selections for its National Recording Registry. Connie has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1965 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.”