Dwight Smith has been building up a trove of songs over the past few years while traveling, working, and living in Austin, Brooklyn, Chicago, Guatemala, Ecuador, Alaska, and Connecticut. Somewhere in his travels across two continents, he seems to have developed hands with a touch like Nick Drake's, a voice as powerful as Marc Bolan's, and a lyrical ability all to himself. His first first full-length was released on Twin Lakes on October 23, 2012. Stream Lateral Drifts and his 2011 EP here.
Our bodies are driven to sustain and reproduce without worries of a greater meaning. It's no wonder that our minds and hearts are similarly driven forward to understand and create, all the while vexed by how the facts of the physical world may or may not add up to very much at all. Our faculties might just make us tragic because they allow us to dream of and define beauty, completeness and peace that seemingly can't exist in our physical world.
But what is more hopeful than filling a void with ringing voices? What better answer can we give monstrous solipsism than to write of what we see and feel so that others will understand? Dwight Smith seems to be heeding this call with this collection of sad, hopeful, and gorgeous songs that pull us through these questions, pull us into him. Ringing voices, plaintive horns, and sparkling keys drift over a sunset river of shimmering, spiraling, tumbling fingerpicked melodies, carrying us to a place of shared fragile exhilaration. In each song, Smith pulls us behind his minor chords and harmonies towards what will certainly be a maelstrom and wreck but instead drops us gently each time into glorious but sadly complex resolution.
The questions, maybe the void too, are still there, but we feel different about them -- a little lighter, a little tired, happy to be on the positive side of materiality, and slightly sympathetic to the necessary negative. When he sings about the need for forgiveness or about our own falls, the songs ring out, resonate and amplify an out-sized hope and love for the world and humanity. There's an angel living in this music, or somewhere in Dwight Smith.