A well-known maxim says that art is born of suffering. It’s hard to find a better example of that than Snowball out of Hell, the new album by The Smoking Flowers. The album was born from Kim Collins’s battle against breast cancer using only holistic methods. The result is an album so beautiful that it will have you gasping.
Few duos in country compare to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. The two of them created such beautiful harmonies that it’s hard for any other duo to duplicate. Then you hear “Let’s Get Happy” (featuring John McCauley of Deer Tick), and you realize that beautiful harmonies aren’t exclusively the domain of Gram and Emmylou. Kim and Scott Collins make some harmonies in this tune that are sure to give you chills – and it’s only the first song.
“Build Your Own Road” is a beautiful song made more so by the spare arrangement that includes acoustic guitar and pedal steel. Spare arrangements are kind of where the band dwells on this acoustic album. As you listen, you realize that between the vocals and the instrumentation you’re getting pure sounds without any distortion. While the sound isn’t bluegrass, it has the feel of a bluegrass band that plays and sings around a single microphone.
Every song is captivating, a couple of them grab the attention more than others. “Beautiful Life” features some haunting backing vocals that might best be described as spectral. Don’t be surprised if you feel chills when you hear this one. The other song that really grabs the attention is “One Friend”. This is a gorgeous song that stops you in your tracks. Between the vocals, the harmonica, and the horns, you kind of find yourself frozen as you focus on the song.
Let’s do a little exercise, loyal reader. Just think about your preferred exclamation for something good or impressive. Whatever it might be, don’t be surprised if you find yourself uttering it a lot as you listen to this album – mostly because you may not be able to form complete thoughts when you are so transfixed.
Each song on the album is beautifully crafted and it makes you pay attention to every note and every word. Some albums you want to blare out of your windows. This is an album you want to listen to in the privacy of your own home – away from the noise of the world outside. Snowball out of Hell will be available everywhere on June 21. Order your copy here.