Mindy Smith has faith in herself

Aug 9, 2012

For Mindy Smith, the devil has always been in the details. And, for that matter, in the big picture as well. The Nashville singer-songwriter, a pastor’s daughter who attended Cincinnati Bible College before making music her career, recently released her fifth album, the self-titled “Mindy Smith.”  It’s a landmark project, her first record since leaving the Vanguard label. 

“You have to surround yourself with the people who are ready to make similar sacrifices, whether it’s your management team ... It’s very difficult to find those people that are 100 percent in to sit next to you, maybe not creatively of anything, but making an album and finding ways to get heard,” Smith says. “Those elements are critical ... Everyone is taking a risk these days and with that risk you have to have a reward.”

Smith is stoked about her life these days. Always a believer, it seems that her lifelong faith – in God and herself – has been rewarded. 

“I am seriously feeling so blessed about it (the new record),” she says as she prepares to wrap up her summer tour with a show at Natasha’s Bistro in Lexington Sunday night. “Just the response, and the people, and the support; I think that people just being so responsive to the fact that it’s completely independent has been more than I expected. The turnouts have been terrific.”

The music on “Mindy Smith” will be familiar to longtime fans and is also likely to bring some new people to the club. A wonderful mix of ballads and toe-tappers, Smith revisits her touchstones: love, lost and found; and faith, mostly rewarded. And though Jesus, heaven, hell and the devil are name-checked, the tunes aren’t the least bit preachy – they’re just entertaining.

And honest. Flush with the freedom from contractual obligations, Smith says there will never be a record without a purpose.

“I write when I can ... (but) not everything is good enough for the light of day,” she laughs. “But I sure do my best to make sure ... But I’ve found sometimes that it just never comes to fruition. If I wait until the last minute or wait until I was under pressure (to make a record), it would be dishonest in terms of what people have come to expect from me, not only as an artist, but as a person.

“For me to have the liberty and the luxury if you will, to write when I want to write helps me tremendously. I’ve been very fortunate. I don’t like to rush anything. I don’t think it’s fair to make a record with one silly song let alone six or seven. I just don’t believe in that.”

Listening to Smith’s catalog, it’s obvious that silliness isn’t part of the deal. After first gaining attention with her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” for the tribute album “Just Because I’m a Woman,” Smith has earned praise from peers and the press if not huge commercial success. But she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to make a living doing the thing she loves most.

“I wish I would have written ‘Jolene,’ but it’s been such a blessing in my life, I really do enjoy singing it,” Smith says. “It helps when you enjoy the tunes you are singing. I couldn’t get out there every night and sing songs I didn’t believe in. If I have to sing these the rest of my life, then that’s a good thing.”

And good things keep the devil at bay.

Mindy Smith and Angel Snow, 8 p.m. Sunday, Natasha’s Bistro, 112 Esplanade Alley, Lexington. $15 online, $19 at the door. Beetnik.com, 859-259-2754.

Email Bill Thompson