Artist: Jonah Smith
Album: Easy Prey
Label: Music Road Records
Release Date: 05/20/2016
The fact that Jonah Smith has been accorded such prestigious kudos — among them, top honors at the Independent Music Awards — lends credence to the fact that his career has blossomed from the very beginning. Industry Rule, his well-received debut, found him opening for several high profile artist touring both here and abroad, and successive efforts have resulted in extensive airplay and appearances at Bonnaroo and Langerado. As a result, the self-produced Easy Prey attracts greater scrutiny courtesy of its predecessors, its title reflecting the fact the world may be watching.
Opening track “Sunnyville” and its revealing follow-up, “Where I Started From,” find him especially vulnerable to criticism due to their overly sedate circumstance. However Smith’s always possessed an ability to mix things up, and here again he does an admirable job of doing just that. That’s evident in the soft shuffle of “Make Me Change My Mind,” the mid tempo pacing of “Heavy Hangs the Crown,” the soulful set-up of “Try Your Best,” and the gospel-like flourish of “Turn This Ship Around” and “Drop Me a Line.” Hints of Paul Simon and an especially down home demeanor are revealed in “Easy Prey” and “We Tried Like Hell,” respectively, before the album’s brought to a stirring conclusion with the celebratory “Robin, Robin.” Despite its unassuming stance, Easy Prey gives its maker worthy of a generally easy score.