CJ Smyth Common Shaman

CJ Smyth - Common Shaman | PRESS


C. J. Smyth Talks About Her First Solo Effort “Common Shaman”
Robert Lawrence Apr 6, 2015

I love finding new artists that remind me of other artists, but have their own distinct sound which sets them apart. Georgia native C.J. Smyth’s voice reminds me of the laidback caress of Aimee Mann, her tone takes me to the dark approaches of Mazzy Starr’s Hope Sandoval, and her songwriting echoes the honesty of Joni Mitchell. Not quite Folk, Country or Rock, Smyth falls into the category of Homespun Rock Angels like Sheryl Crow or Alana Davis.
My favorite song on “Common Shaman” is “Open Hand.” It’s complicated lyric can have several interpretations. The chorus says it all for me; “Love me with an open hand it’s all you need to do/ove me with an open hand and I’ll come home to you.” I took this as someone in an abusive relationship who has settled for the circumstances regardless of how destructive, due to drowning in love. Others may see the phrase “open hand” as meaning something inviting or offering. Other lyrics in the song lead to me believe the open hand was of a violent nature; “I know you worry cause I’ve been known to run from pleasure and pain, When it feels like a loaded gun with a shot that bears my name.”

The twelve tracks on C.J. Smyth’s Common Shaman cover a lot of emotion and many points of sadness, however it’s not grim. The relationship songs are complicated as most relationships are and the songs of inspiration are within realistic expectations. Well rounding out the experience are a few upbeat numbers that add richness to the project. Of these, “Sweet Mercy” stands out for me and is geared at being the most commercial. Miranda Lambert would be smart to cover this seductive number with it’s religious undercurrent.

C.J. is a noteworthy up and comer. I’d like our readers to be able to get some insight into someone whom in my opinion knows how to “do it right” when it comes to putting your dreams on the map and letting the cosmos take over from there.