Darden Smith, Friends House Concert, Friday, Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m., $30-$45, house-concerts.org, call 373-8879 for location and ticket information.
t a SXSW festival back in the aughts, I caught an outdoor performance by Americana artist Darden Smith and his band, who suddenly found themselves accompanied by a loud alarm when a hapless driver got trapped in his parked car midway through the set. After realizing the beeping wasn’t likely to stop anytime soon, Smith and his band gradually synced up their own rhythm to that of the alarm. Afterward, he said he wasn’t really sure whether the band was accommodating the alarm, or the alarm was accommodating them. “I’d like to think,” he added, “that we met somewhere in the middle.”
Like many of his fellow Austinites, Smith has a wry sense of humor combined with a generosity of spirit, and that comes through in his music as well. Songs like “Meet Me on the Levee” convey an emotional depth and beguiling folk-pop sensibility that, in their best moments, bring to mind Richard Thompson and Steve Earle. Smith’s most recent album Everything
finds the singer-songwriter, who is currently in the midst of a solo tour, backed by a top-flight band that includes Charlie Sexton and Michael Ramos, with guest vocals from the likes of Beth Nielsen Chapman and Kelly Willis. It’s a worthy collection that once again shows Smith can do heartbreak and inspiration equally well, prompting like-minded songwriter Mary Gauthier to describe his music as “medicine for a world gone wrong.”