Nova Scotia-based Laura Smith is the practical, no-nonsense, but warm-hearted confidante who always has words of wisdom when things aren't going well. Of course, sometimes those homespun homilies come unsolicited. It's A Personal Thing is accomplished, wholesome Down-East music ... it's hard not to feel comfy with Smith's warm, reassuring vocals and depth of emotion, but also difficult to work up a lot of passion for the homey, adult contemporary production that graces the "emphasis" tracks. Imagine Anne Murray if she had started recording in the '90s rather than the '60s. Most successful are the sparser open wound of "Yes Harm Done," the airier ocean-front views of "Armistice Day" and the playful hit-the-road paean "One Suitcase." Instead, chances are far greater that you'll encounter the more glibly obvious "I'm a Beauty" and title track.