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HARDWARES

SMITH & MYERS

Acoustic Sessions

(Atlantic)

Reviewed by : Aaron Small
Rating : 9.0

SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith and guitarist Zach Myers have issued a six-song EP comprised entirely of cover songs, as chosen by fans on Facebook. Each of the tunes is stripped down to the barest of essentials – acoustic guitar and vocal. Beginning with ‘London Calling’ by THE CLASH, the politically charged lyrics become even more poignant in this unplugged format. OTIS REDDING’s ‘Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay’ has been redone by a plethora of musicians including SAMMY HAGAR, MICHAEL BOLTON, and PEARL JAM, but Smith & Myers bring an unequaled tenderness to the track, making their version extra special. ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by METALLICA is Hetfield’s ballad from The Black Album, not as interesting a choice as say ‘Harvester Of Sorrow’, but this is what the online poll dictated, and the result is simply stunning. Hard to believe, but ‘She Talks To Angels’ by THE BLACK CROWES resonates more powerfully when sung by Brent Smith than its originator Chris Robinson. ‘Blue On Black’ is unique in the fact that songwriter KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD actually plays on the track along with S&M. Wrapping it all up is SOUL ASYLUM’s ‘Runaway Train’ – a perfect pick. Having Smith introduce each song by stating the title and artist is a nice way of paying tribute, but after repeated listens grows tiresome; especially given the fact that none of the covers fall under the obscure category. Being a stickler for physical product, it’s unfortunate that Acoustic Sessions is only available digitally, as a CD would have made a great addition to the collection. Minor quibbling aside, a more emotive and heartfelt release would be difficult to muster.



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