REVIEW: Greta Smith and the Egrets – “Old Girls”

Greta Smith and the Egrets
Old Girls

There is a certain relaxed euphoria that I experience while listening to Old Girls, the same kind of feeling I get when I put on a Will Oldham record. After just a few tracks, it becomes easy to recognize Greta Smith as a truly gifted songwriter with no intentions of reinventing the wheel, but just to create beautiful, vocally-driven songs that put her voice and words at center stage. That’s not to say that her music is narrow or boring, as each tune has it’s own personality.  

Greta’s voice itself is very nice, but it isn’t going to blow you away by being an overpowering presence. Her vocals are subtle and sometimes quiet, but without sparing emotion. She herself claims to be a sort of “accidental songwriter” without any classical training, just someone who enjoys writing her own songs.  And that’s kind of the point, as there’s a certain beauty in vulnerability and authentic sensibility. The gentle guitar, subtle stand-up bass and decorative lap steel serve as a nice, backdrop to put Smith’s songs on display, but they never threaten to take center stage away from her voice, and I think this is why the songs on Old Girls work so well.

My favorite tracks on this album include the opening track “Honesty” and the up-tempo country-thick song “Moon A’int Got No Friends.”  The tone throughout takes me be back to Comes A Time-era Neil YoungNeil Young and some of the Dolly Parton records from the early to mid 70’s.  In other words, this nine-song offering is highly recommended, especially while spending time outdoors on a beautiful day.  I’d suggest her music to folks that are fans of anyone from Dolly Parton to Neil Young to Bonnie Prince Billy.

Listen to Old Girls here.