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#30 April Smith and the Great Picture Show: Songs For A Sinking Ship

By Gary Wien

April Smith grew up in Toms River and became one of the stars of the Asbury Park music scene before moving to Brooklyn; there she became an indie-music darling  and was placed on several national tours.  She’s always had a remarkably powerful voice, it just took a few years to develop a style that took full advantage of it.  On Songs For A Sinking Ship, she’s found that style.

Kicking off with the bouncy “Movie Loves A Screen,” April showcases a unique songwriting style that doesn’t exactly fit within any particular genre, but is immensely appealing.  Songs transverse a landscape of jazz, show tunes, and pure rock and roll.  The mixture is quite fitting for April as she’s always composed songs that were very pictorial; tiny stories you could actually see unfold before your very eyes.  With the new sound, she’s found the perfect backdrop.

Another wonderful tune is “Dixie Boy,” which may have been the first song I can remember ever hearing from April.  On this release she reworks the tune and gives it the recording it always deserved.  Back when she first performed it, her voice was almost too powerful to contain.  She’s since learned how to control her immense highs and lows to make the epic theatrical numbers that were hinted from the very beginning.

Songs For A Sinking Ship blends influences from the ‘40s to the current day, while April and her band prove everything old can be new again.

Highlights include the trio of incredible songs: “Terrible Things” (which wound up being on the Weeds cable television show), “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” and “Colors” along with “The One That Got Away” and “Stop Wondering.”

From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists by Gary Wien

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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originally published: 01/26/2012



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