Welcoming a new soul queen

Samantha Smith, Harrogate by' SIRA Studio
Samantha Smith, Harrogate by' SIRA Studio

Samantha Smith: Out of the Blue (album)

Samantha Smith approaches her debut album at a gallop, like a woman possessed, backed by a band of hired hands who understand the urgency of the situation.

Out of the blue is the sound of 12 years of life experience boiled down into 10 great songs.

Hurt but defiant, bitter but unbowed, this Harrogate acoustic songstress, who has experienced the vicissitudes of the music business first hand, is a master of modern soul-blues pop across the genres.

Blessed with a terrific voice both tough and tender, sharp but warm, the twentysomething Smith could be Alanis Morrissette or Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall or Jessie J, even, if she got a few dance beats

The songwriting is high quality throughout with a soulful, ‘urban’ edge, the feisty Taken being the best single moment for me, though choosing is hard.

One small thing. Having got this out of her system, Smith would benefit from calming down a touch and letting more of her tender, more relaxed side out, just as she does with gorgeous final track Sleepwalk.

She’s good enough not to try this hard always.