Andy Smythe

Changing Seasons

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No one can say that Andy Smythe hasn't been proactive when it comes to recording. Instead of waiting for a label to sign him, the British singer/songwriter started his own label, Dreaming Element Records, in 1999 and began to build a catalog. Of course, starting your own label is a challenge; you have to function as a promoter, publicist, marketer, salesman, and A&R person all rolled into one. But Smythe was up to the task and he grew creatively as he went along. While 2000s Changing Seasons wasn't Smythe's first release -- he put out a four-song EP in 1999 -- it was his first full-length album. And what was true of that EP is also true of Changing Seasons; although mildly uneven, this CD was generally decent and indicated that Smythe was well worth keeping an eye on. The CD's most promising tracks range from the tender "Mother With Child" to "The Russians Are Coming," a dark and somber commentary on the problems of what used to be the Soviet Union. The tune has a noticeable East European influence, but most of Smythe's European influences come from the western part of Europe -- western as in British folk and the Celtic traditions of Ireland and Scotland (he has his share of American influences, as well). In 2002, Smythe still had some growing and developing to do; his best work was yet to come and he took an impressive step forward on his next album, Love Unspoken, three years later. But Changing Seasons -- although not as strong or consistent as Love Unspoken -- certainly has its moments. And for those who already own the more essential Love Unspoken, Smythe's first full-length album is also worth obtaining.

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