A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Rose
Some recordings you listen to once or twice and decide right away that you love it or hate it. These Things Wrapped by Leslie Smith wasn't like that with me at all! I listened to this CD several times before it started to sink in. The songwriting is very subtle and simple, but the words say a lot, once you start to carefully listen. There's much irony here; some of the most pleasant sounding songs (like "Wednesday's Child") contain the most dark and somber lyrics. There's nothing black and white in thi s world - These Things Wrapped tends to play to the gray.
Musically, there are so many wonderful influences discernible on this recording. Traces of the Indigo Girls, Cheryl Wheeler, and Nancy Griffith abound. However, there's never a feeling of trying to copy someone or trying to sound a certain way. The songs are very personal and cut to the heart every time. What makes these songs so enduring is that they really sound like someone telling you a story, not trying to write a popular song!
The band assembled for this CD is exceptional. The music fits right in with the songs, but never overpowers or obscures the vocals or lyrics. The banjo, fiddle and guitar picking give the album a strong bluegrass flavor. On the other hand, the piano chops on "Midnight Pirouette" lend an air of Crosby, Stills and Nash like "folk-rock" to the mix.
If you're looking for mindless dance music, forget it. However, for a collection of songs that say a lot without saying it too loudly, These Things Wrapped will fill the bill nicely.
Waterbug releases are receiving wider distribution, however, if your local record store has difficulty finding These Things Wrapped you might consider ordering directly from:
Evanson, IL 60204