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Jeffery Smith: Down Here Below

There’s a buzz about vocalist Jeffery Smith. His critically acclaimed 1998 debut A Little Sweeter caused some heads to turn, and Down Here Below, his latest recording, shouldn’t be any different. Smith has quickly become proficient at crafting wonderfully textured pop songs. They stick to you-whether you want them to or not.

Through styles that range from pop to jazz to samba-influenced tunes, Smith paints vivid pictures of everyday life and everyday emotions. His soulful lyricism captures common moments in language unclouded by irony and allegory.

There are notable turns in every song, but pay special attention to “Ask Me Now,” a compelling duet with Diane Reeves; the great violin work of Regina Carter on the title track and “Cinnamon and Clove”; also, on songs such as “People Make the World Go ‘Round” and “Love on a Two-Way Street,” which find Smith at his vocal best.

There’s enough good stuff here to make us pay attention to Smith’s enormous skills, but there’s still plenty left to be heard.

Originally Published