Laura Smith returns to the open arms of the Trailside Café

Todd
Todd MacLean
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Popular singer/songwriter back on stage after taking a break from performing

Last weekend the Trailside Café in Mount Stewart opened its doors for its 2014 season of concerts by featuring an artist who is certainly no stranger to its stage: Laura Smith.

Since Doug Deacon began booking her for a string of always jam-packed shows starting in 2000, Smith has long been adored by Trailside audiences. And now, owners Pat and Meghann Deighan (who are also now proud new parents of a baby girl) have carried on this tradition in fine style.

It was a packed house that Laura Smith entered last Friday at 8 p.m., as applause began in the room even before she had started toward the stage.

“Alright, my darlings,” greeted Smith, after she had just bounced her way up to the stage (literally jumping up and down in excitement), “I’m just so thrilled that you came tonight.”

Following a hiatus from performance and recording, Smith has been making her way back onto the touring scene lately, and last year just completed her first recording in 16 years, entitled Everything Is Moving.

Accompanied on stage by pianist/guitarist/backing vocalist Paul Buchanan of Mahone Bay, N.S., Smith began with the lead off track from this new recording — a song called Lonely Waterloo.

Immediately connective in an ever-endearing spirit, Smith’s bright vibrato voice filled the candlelit room and soothed the hearts of many of those present who were clearly waiting in anticipation for quite some time for her return to the Trailside.

Smith’s first set continued with other songs from her new album like I Built a Boat (one that was waiting in the wings for over a decade to be recorded), Horses and Plough, What Goes Around (Comes Around), Magdalen McGillivray and Safe Home Sweet Light.

“I don’t bond with people well,” Smith said in a candid moment during one of her song descriptions near the end of the first set. “I have a bolt reflex. After 40 minutes, I’m gone,” she laughed.

It was a comment which I found interesting, particularly because only minutes before that I had written in my notebook, “I’ve never experienced a performer quite like her before. It is as though she is so engaged with the audience in every phrase, every note, that she is telling a story to a living room full of family members. It’s a tale she knows we all can relate to — that will move us, as it has moved her — and in turn, it does.”

Indeed, for someone who claims to not be able to bond with people, Smith can instantly fuse a relationship with an audience in a most exceptional way — unquestionably, the mark of a true performer.

As her second set rose in energy level with vibrant tunes like It’s a Personal Thing and Four-Letter Word for Lonesome, Smith ended the night in a purely magical spirit with one of her greatest hits, My Bonny.

Smith informed us at the end of the night that she has a jazz recording in the works, so let’s hope we see her come back to her Trailside family’s open arms on another album tour once again sometime very soon.

Next week: You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.

 

Todd MacLean is a local freelance writer and musician. If you have a comment or suggestion for a review, you can get in touch with him at tmaclean@theguardian.pe.ca or at 626-1242.

 

Todd's picks

1. You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown - The Guild, today and tomorrow, 7:30 p.m. with matinees tomorrow and Sunday at 2 p.m. It also runs May 8-10.

2. Trailside Café, Mount Stewart., featuring Thom Swift and Brian Dunn tonight and Irish Mythen with Liam Corcoran tomorrow. Performances are t 8 p.m. with dinner seating at 6:30 p.m.

3. dance umbrella annual showcase - Confederation Centre Homburg Theatre, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

4. Toby Keith: Hammer Down Tour - Credit Union Place, Summerside, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

5. Carroll Baker - Harbour-front Theatre, Summerside, today and tomorrow, 7 p.m.

Organizations: The Guild, Centre Homburg Theatre, Union Place

Geographic location: Mount Stewart, Mahone Bay, Summerside

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