‘Moving On’ is the latest EP from singer/songwriter Danny Smart, which across its’ five tracks showcases the edgy Country sound that the young man from Barnsley has been developing. Growing up listening to the likes of Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters and Bob Dylan he fostered not only a love for Country music but also a passion for songwriting. These two combined to lead to the release of his debut EP ‘One More Night’ in 2013, which leaned on these influences as well as the more indie stylings of Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran. ”One More Night’ began to generate a buzz as Smart performed the tracks throughout the year at festivals, charity events and even whilst busking on the streets of Sheffield!
Follow-up EP ‘Moving On’ was released last month and sees a growing maturity in both Smart’s music and performance. ‘New Man’ was the lead single and is also the EP opener, and it is a perfect choice for both. An energy-packed track with the singer putting aside the complications of the fairer sex and becoming a ‘new man with a new life‘. From the exciting strummed guitar chords which kick the song into life, to the atmospheric hand-claps and funky chorus, ‘New Man’ bursts out of your speakers and captures your attention.
‘Moving On’ is a gentler mid-tempo tune, offering sage advice on the journey through life and dealing with its’ challenges. Featuring a charming guitar solo and a tale that engages the listener, the song also shows an enjoyably softer side to Smart’s vocals. It may seem curious that such a youthful artist is serving up life lessons but the lyrics coupled with the delivery add a well-worn feel to ‘Moving On’ imbuing it with authenticity. The centrepiece of the EP ‘Love Ain’t On My Side’ is an absolute delight, with its’ wonderfully loping melody and harmonica & slide guitar. The track has a warm loose, live feel which makes it all the more enjoyable whilst listening to the cleverly written lyrics bemoaning the fickleness of love.
‘She’s Mine’ is a completely stripped down acoustic number, just Smart and his guitar which still manages to rock along at a fair old pace and serve up a healthy dose of attitude. Clocking in at a little under two minutes the track is an intriguing taster of what the artist can deliver in a live set and whets the appetite to hear more in such a setting. The EP closes with a gloriously moody version of Dolly Parton classic ‘Jolene’, a brave choice to take on such a revered song but Smart delivers an impressive rendition. The heavy percussion and organ fills add to the air of desperation in Parton’s timeless lyrics, and Smart adds a deep tone to his vocals to more than match the production behind him.
‘Moving On’ proves to be a highly recommended EP from a UK artist with bags of talent both as a singer and a songwriter. It may not be traditional Country but the influence of the genre is there in both the arrangement and the meticulous crafting of the songs. Time moves on and the lines between styles of music continue to blur and Danny Smart capitalises on this by adding a more modern indie-rock to his Country. The result of which are the quality five tracks on ‘Moving On’ and an exciting future for a young man who is only going to continue to get better and better.