Album:  Real
Artist:   Sean Smith
Label:   Tag Artist Group
Length:  10 tracks / 41:28

Sean Smith’s music sweeps in like a breath of fresh air with his new CD Real and the singer’s rich vocals begin with the opening song, the title track. Smith is supported with backup vocals from Drew Cline, Lisa Bevill, and two American Idol finalists Mandisa Hundley (2006) and Melinda Doolittle (2007).

If you are easily moved to, tears have a box of tissues close at hand when the third track “If Sierra Can Smile,” begins to play. The song of a young child hospitalized most of her life is depicted in this moving smile sung by Smith with equally emotive smiles. The lyric serves up a reminder of just how much we take for granted in our own lives. The singer reminds us that, “If Sierra can smile through her pain?.then why can’t we?”

Real is an album that explores many aspects of our faith and challenges us to respond to the call of God upon our lives to go where He wants us to go.  The song, “Man Of Meaning,” challenges us to stand in the gap where God requires people of faith. The singer finds his purpose not in dramatic fashion but in his quiet time alone with God. The simple acoustic guitar accompaniment by Dave Cleveland and Smith’s deep vocals paint a pretty word picture. One of my personal favorites from this CD is the R&B flavored, “Noah Built A Boat,” which reminds us that the patriarch was out there building a boat at a time when nobody had ever seen rain. The aforementioned backup singers are this time joined by Missy Hale and Jason Eskridge.

Sean Smith writes songs with the passion of Mark Hall (Casting Crowns) but possesses a better voice (sorry Mark). Smith wrote or co-wrote (with producer Phil Naish and Lowell Alexander) nine of the ten tunes on Real.

Smith appears equally comfortable and adept with meditative pretty lullabies such as “Words Of Grace,” as he is with “The Edge of Forever,” which gets pretty close to rocking out. If you have children whether they are now adult aged or are still tiny, you will be moved by the sensitivity with which Smith approaches the lyrics to “Words of Grace.”  Russell Mauldin arranged the strings.

Although the music for this album is, beautiful Naish has done a good job of keeping things simple, which helps highlight Smith’s vocal performance and allows the listener to clearly hear the poignant lyrics. The record features Chris Donohue on bass, Dave Cleveland (guitars), Naish on keys and John Careozza on the B3.

Sean Smith’s CD Real is a booklet of the most beautiful songs that I have heard so far in 2007.

Copyright © 2007 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer and the publisher of Riveting Riffs, .