SMITH AND WESLEY
CHOICES AND CHANCES
GARAGE DOOR RECORDS GDR 7212015
THIRTY PIECES–WHISKEY–BOTTLE’S HALF FULL–NEED SOMEBODY BAD–ROLL ON SMOOTHLY–SAVE ME–PROVE MY LOVE–YOU’RE THE ONE–I LOVE LOVING YOU–SWEET LIFE–COUNTRY DREAMS
Country music group Smith And Wesley hail from the Chattanooga, TN–Northern Georgia area, what we think of as “Tritt Country,” as ole Travis Tritt also hails from nearby Kennesaw, GA. And, you can hear a lot of Tritt’s swagger in their debut album, “Choices And Chances.” It’s eleven band originals that encompass Southern rock, contemporary and traditional country, and even a bit of blues.
The band derives its name from the singing Smith brothers, Scott on lead vocals and Todd on harp and harmony vocals. Wesley was the name of their father, who recently passed away, and the band now uses his name in a fitting tribute. This album is meant to be enjoyed in a “start to finish” fashion, as well. The first half of the set is peppered with “choices,” most of which come with hefty consequences. The leadoff cut is a Southern-rock-influenced tale of the fellows’ grandfather, who crossed a coal mine picket line “to keep his family fed,” and his so-called friends sold him out for that biblical “Thirty Pieces.” One is not likely to find an answer to life’s problems by “swimmin’ in a Whiskey river,” but you know the price is steep if you try. And, if you find the pain of loss too much to bear and you need something stronger than liquor, you might just “Need Somebody Bad tonight, because I just lost somebody good.”
The second half of the set deals with making more mature choices, finding true love, and eventual redemption. “Prove My Love,” “I Love Loving You,” and “You’re The One” are excellent examples of the band’s softer side.
We had two favorites, too. One of the “choices” songs is a stone traditional honky-tonker where you know there’s trouble comin’ when “The Bottle’s Half Full.” And, Danny Shirley of Confederate Railroad fame guests on vocals as the fellows vow to keep “chasin’ those Country Dreams ’til the day I die,” just as Haggard, Jones, and a host of others before them did.
Smith And Wesley are as good or better than a lot of acts drawin’ a fat check down on Music Row. Excellent musicianship, strong songs, and tight harmonies that only brothers could produce make “Choices And Chances” a set that begs to be heard. And, if their July 28th show at Nashville’s City Winery was any indication, these guys are ready to bust out in a big way! Best of luck, guys! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.