Camp fires, good friends, whiskey, and Christianity permeate the debut album of Americana new-comer Noah Smith. Oh, and there’s a bit of banjo too.
The Ohio-based artist’s 2018 album Long Cut provides a diverse expanse of sonic variety. Every track offers an array of musicality and lyrical content that not only lends solidarity to the work, but also offers much when heard in isolation. Various themes run through the seven-track album that resonate with common country tropes while giving the listener a glimpse into Smith’s sensibilities.
Smith’s lyrics cover themes of the recklessness of youth, the displacement of homesickness, spirituality, and the loneliness that accompanies the pursuit of dreams – all of which are expressed through Smith’s powerful delivery over blended, layered harmonies.
In terms of musicality, Long Cut gives the listener most of what is expected from an Americana act: acoustic chord progressions over jangle-toned sliding guitars that evolve into distorted lead breaks and clear vocal delivery. However, some tracks feature genre-characteristic strings like the mandolin featured in the nostalgic “Ohio (That’s All I Know)” and the banjo’s twang in “Devil Child.” The album’s sound continually progresses, keeping intact its overall sound while still leaving some room for variance in intensity. Just listen to the opening track “We’re on Fire” with the closing track “Damn the Devil in Me” and you’ll fully understand the full extent of Smith’s versatility. Whatever the case, Smith and his band members exhibit an intriguing chemistry that is evident on every track.
Smith’s first full-length release demonstrates his limitless potential. Though he is no stranger to the industry, Long Cut solidifies Noah Smith’s placement at the forefront of Americana for years to come. For now, we’ll just sit back and watch as he climbs his way up the charts and before long, he’ll be headlining the nation’s most prominent venues.