Album Review – Smooth Hound Smith’s ‘Sweet Tennessee Honey’

Author: Leon Blair

In today’s music world, it can be hard finding duos or groups that truly connect and can call themselves what they are. Some have one member who does all the work while the other(s) stay in the shadows wondering why they’re even there. Others can attest to having great chemistry whether it be through luscious harmonies, or great varied instrumentation.
Smooth Hound Smith is a duo that can truly call themselves a duo. Based in East Nashville in 2012, Zack Smith and Caitlin Doyle have remained in the shadows for quite some time now. Ever since releasing their self-titled debut album back in 2013, the duo has gone on to ascend new heights such as opening for the Dixie Chicks on their brand new tour.
Their latest album, Sweet Tennessee Honey is quite the eclectic record, one that will please both traditional country fans as well as Americana fans. There’s blues, country, rock, heck, even some soul on this record that combines to make Smooth Hound Smith’s signature sound.

​I talk an awful lot about lyrics and themes in these reviews but I’m not really sure if that’s the part I want to talk about with Smooth Hound Smith. On the contrary, their harmonies and fantastic instrumentation are the main selling point of this album. Country fans are sure to love infectious tracks such as “Knockin’ At My Door” and “She Calls Me Daddy”, the latter of which features some great steel guitar. The title track opts for a more Western Swing vibe and features some heavenly fiddle. “The Boots That Got Us There” is a nod to one’s roots songs that also will please Country fans given that it is backed primarily by fiddle.
Elsewhere, fans of more alt-country or Americana leaning acts are sure to enjoy the slow burning “Getting’ Around” about reminiscing on a lost love. “Stop Gap Woman Blues” is a fun little blues-rocker that features some excellent harmonica and really showcases Zack Smith’s excellent voice. “30 Days” is a cheating tune also within this fun little blues rock vein. On the other hand there’s also some more melancholy blues tracks such as “Stone Blind” and the sinister sounding “Forever Cold” which with the prominent use of banjo also lends itself a nice bluegrass feel.
While Sweet Tennessee Honey is certainly a fun, enjoyable, good album, I’m not quite sure it rises to the level of great. While the sound is quite eclectic, it can be a bit scattershot at times almost as if Smooth Hound Smith is trying to find what they truly what their core sound to be. Also, while there isn’t an outright bad song on this album I wouldn’t say that there are any here that could qualify as knockouts.
Even still, Sweet Tennessee Honey is certainly worth your time, and showcases a bright, young promising act. It’s nice to see a duo that can actually call themselves a duo and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what else these two have in them since I feel their best is definitely yet to come. 

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