Highly regarded singer/songwriter and Amazing Rhythm Aces frontman Russell Smith revisits past songs and delivers strong new ones on this debut release from fledgling independent Muscle Shoals Records

Highly regarded singer/songwriter and Amazing Rhythm Aces frontman Russell Smith revisits past songs and delivers strong new ones on this debut release from fledgling independent Muscle Shoals Records. Overall, it's a winning collection, loaded with clever, insightful wordplay and likable vocal performances. "Old School" and "Look Heart, No Hands" are bittersweet nostalgia laced with character, and "The King Is in His Castle" and "Heartbeat in the Darkness" are dead-on looks at simple pleasures and what is really important in life. Smith examines the impact of a life on the move on the pounding "The Road," and "Walk These Hills" is regretful and lonesome. The artist revisits such well-known material as "Don't Go to Strangers" and a syncopated "Third Rate Romance" to fine effect and finishes strong with the edgy "Jesse," the sad and sweet "Keep It Between the Lines," and the world-weary—if optimistic—title cut. A real pro, Smith exudes confidence as a singer, songwriter, and musician.—RW