On Debi Smith’s latest album “Hits & Holidays” the vocalist with the three-octave range–– a member of the much loved U.S. folk group the Four Bitchin’ Babes and The Smith Sisters––turns her gorgeous vocals to an array of songs celebrating everything from Christmas to Collector Car Appreciation Day (That’s July 9th, by the way!).
The delight is that the diverse collection works beautifully. Although Smith has a voice that challenges the mastery of household-name divas, she never allows her styling to get overly stuffy or maudlin. Instead, she balances sentimentality with just the right amount of wit to make most of the album a play-all-year spin.
Doc Watson, Mike Auldridge, Tom Paxton and Marcy Marxer are among the artists who make appearances on this recent release. But despite the A-list guests, Smith’s vocals steal the show.
The classic ‘O Holy Night,’ ‘Pie,’ a cover of a Watson song, and ‘Keep on the Sunny Side,’ (upon which she duets with Watson) are among the stand-out tracks. Perhaps the most stunningly beautiful track, though, is ‘Mother’s Hands.’ Smith, a parent herself, sings with the heartfelt wisdom of someone who has experienced the joys and sorrow of life and love. But, again, the songs on this album don’t take listeners on a sentimental journey. For pure fun, take a listen to ‘Chevy Impala,’ which Smith wrote with her husband Michael Jaworek.
The bottom line: Whether it’s a holiday or not, Smith’s latest album is a hit.
– By Nancy Dunham