Samantha Savage Smith Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary AB June 20
Published Jun 21, 2012"I just spilled a full beer on my guitar," Samantha Savage Smith said by way of introduction, taking the Ironwood stage on Sled Island's opening night. "They call me Samantha Spills." It was a cute joke, and the crowded room, there mostly to support the homegrown singer-songwriter, laughed and whistled until Smith opened her mouth and that voice poured out. Husky yet sweet, Smith's vocals have a wise-beyond-her-years quality that's in keeping with songs that traipse, it seems, from one heartbreak to another. Playing only a few tracks off her 2011 debut, Tough Cookie, including the title track and fan favourite "You Always Come to Mind," Smith used the set mostly to try out at least an EP's worth of new material. Since Smith kept the titles her little secret, it's almost impossible to break the tunes down one by one. But the new stuff is everything one could hope from a second album: the songs are more complex and confident, leaning away from light jazz and towards indie pop rock. If this set was a hint at what's to come, be excited.