Out now on Foxy Lady Records, Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star, the latest release from Austin-based goth cabaret songstress Christine Smith, finds Smith mining traditional piano balladry for a set of beautifully mysterious and dark songcraft. Although embellished with appropriate accompaniment throughout the record: cello, violin, saxophone, accordion, drums, harmony vocals, etc., piano and vocals take center stage here and allow Smith’s shadowy fantasies flourish. “Feels Like Yesterday” establishes this approach with an uplifting waltz paired with dark sensibilities as Smith sings, “we’ll be alright, come what may, there is no tomorrow…bring back yesterday…I know there is no tomorrow.” “Happily Never After” treads similar ground and could be a long lost track from a Harry Nilsson record – with the exception of Smith’s voice obviously. Over sparse piano and finger snaps Smith asks, “how could I not see happily never after is all it could be?”
Patsy Cline meets Roy Orbison before taking psychedelic George Jones talking detour on the title track, “Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star.” “Trying Not to Fall in Love” finds Smith dwelling in a minor key and pleading with the object of her longing, “please don’t smile, your smile quite like that…please refrain from glowing like an angel from above, I’m trying not to fall in love.”
“We’re Never Going” ponders the dissolution of a relationship and all the things they never get a chance to do or to do again over a bevy of strings. The record concludes on a note of affirmation pulled from despair, “now that I’ve made myself comfortably numb, it’s plain as the nose on my face what you’ve done, and you can’t hurt me anymore.”
After 20 years in the rock-n-roll trenches recording and touring with Crash Test Dummies, Jesse Malin, Ryan Adams, the band Marah, and recent production work on Tommy Stinson’s upcoming solo release, Smith’s comfortably numb is still writhing with unbridled energy. Christine Smith’s Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star brings cabaret piano balladry into the 21st century with this collection of emotive chronicles of loss and longing; pour a glass of red, light some candles, and give Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star a listen tonight.