Hymns to Hard Times

If you'

If you've heard her radio single "Come to Jesus" or her cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," you know everything you need to about Mindy Smith: This woman can sing. Outside these two hits, which alone are worth the price of the CD, One Moment More aspires to be a folk album, delivering mostly gentle ballads with simple acoustic arrangements.

One Moment More reveals a songwriter with one eye on the afterlife ("Come to Jesus," "Fighting For It All") and one still in the schoolyard ("Raggedy Ann," "It's Amazing"). Smith was adopted at birth by a minister and a choir director, and she grew up hearing her mother sing at home and at church. The maternal mood of "Come to Jesus" is Smith at her most mature; it seems to summarize her signature technique of conjuring her late mother's words to cheer herself through song (Smith lost her mother to cancer when she was 19): "Oh my baby, when you're prayin'/ Leave your burden by my door/ You have Jesus standing at your bedside/ To keep you calm, keep you safe away from harm."

When the songs are not channeling motherly love, Sharron Patricia McMahon Smith seems to affect her daughter's songwriting in another way: Smith's lyrics reflect a fear of losing the one she loves. "Is my sweet man coming back?" Smith asks in the country ballad "Train Song." In the title track, Smith pleads, "Please don't go, let me have you just one moment more." Perhaps the life experience that spawned these songs is what prepared Smith to revive "Jolene," a "hidden track" in this CD; in it she voices her deepest need for human companionship in a vocal volley with Parton that nearly left me in tears.

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Sojourners Magazine August 2004
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