Bass players have a unique musical perspective some would call askew, as they tend to see the world from the bottom up. Brad Smith: bass player and founding member of Blind Melon, is among that elite group of songwriters who know the balance and contrast between the top, bottom, the light and the dark are very slim delicate places.
Smith’s second solo release, Death & Joy, under the moniker Abandon Jalopy is a study of those places deep in the heart and soul of all of us. The 12-song set mixes flowing pop, sing along folk and 90’s style rock, in up tempo scenes full of sweet musical textures contrasted by melancholy lyrics reflecting on loss, pain, life and love.
Smith is joined by former band mates Rogers Stevens, Christopher Thorn and terrific drummer Jimmy Paxson from Stevie Nicks’ band. Smith delivers each song with an easy raspy tenor that could have easily fronted Blind Melon, sparking the question why as the bands main songwriter he didn’t take the lead after Shannon Hoon’s untimely death.
While critics will get some answers on the heart wrenching tribute to Hoon, “I Won’t Be The Same,” fans of Blind Melon will no doubt be thrilled to hear young Nico Blue Hoon (Shannon’s daughter) join Smith on the lovely and timeless “Love Has A Way.”
It took Smith ten years to get the “Jalopy,” up and running again, let’s hope it remains so for some time.