Forgiveness may be in store for those who prematurely dismiss Austin 21-year-old Sahara Smith simply by getting tripped up by her willowy photogenic allure. But there's also a reason why the famed, Grammy-winning producer T-Bone Burnett (Raising Sand, O Brother) decided to take on the job of handling Smith's forthcoming rootsy folk/pop debut Myth of the Heart after describing her as "the best young artist I have heard in many years". For beyond Smith's glossy imagery is a serious and seriously talented young singer and songwriter who counts the likes of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt as her main influences and has been hushing noisy bars since her mid-teens with a voice that's a potent mix of whiskey and molasses.
Set for an August 31 release via Playing In Traffic, Myth of the Heart is aided in no small part by Burnett stacking the deck with ace picks from the his sideman bullpen including drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Marc Ribot, and bassist Dennis Crouch. There are some welcome roughhewn edges to songs like the shuffling title track, as Ribot's muddy, twanged fretwork hovers like a storm cloud over Smith's smoky vocals. Or the pedal steel that haunts from the shadows on the lovely lament "Roses and Ivy'", a song that simply gets better with repeated listening. A prodigious debut, Myth of the Heart is already shaping up to be one of 2010's best new finds. New video for "The Real Thing" after the jump.
Sahara Smith - "The Real Thing" (from the album Myth of the Heart)
Sahara Smith - "Roses and Ivy" (from the album Myth of the Heart)