Californian singer/songwriter Scott Smith is proving that good old fashioned Americana is alive and well in 2018 with his new single “I Will Love You,” an epic sampling from his forthcoming extended play Igniting The Flame. Keeping in stride with his previous output, Smith doesn’t try to weigh down this new track with unnecessary frills or bravado; instead he lets us soak up all of the freewheeling, spacious folksiness that makes his signature sound so inviting and unique. I had the fortune of being able to check out “I Will Love You” ahead of its June 15th release date, and I found it to be one of the more poignant entries in Smith’s catalogue, particularly in how it demonstrates his tremendous growth as an artist.
Scott Smith has always been a talented storyteller and musician, as evidenced by the success of his debut album The Sum of Life and subsequent Down to Memphis, both of which garnered significant critical acclaim and audience approval upon their releases. In “I Will Love You,” Smith seems to rededicate himself to his craft with a refreshingly optimistic and muted tone that shows a great deal of maturity as a composer. His evolution as a songwriter is all the more evidenced in the tremendously sprawling arrangement employed in the song, and I’d even go as far as to say that it could have played equally as well as a symphonic recording. The timber of Smith’s vocal definitely does a lot to warm up the speakers against the breezy nature of the strings, and we end up feeling like we’re relaxing on a back porch somewhere, enjoying an intimate one on one concert instead of listening to a studio track through a set of speakers.
The marking of a truly gifted singer/songwriter is their ability to capture a mood, a larger emotion that is linguistically unquantifiable, and present it to us in the simplest, most stripped down of terms. “I Will Love You” is a classic, bare bones celebration of romance and connection between two lovers told in the most plain of fashions, and yet it has the vibrancy and electric energy of an auditorium-illuminating orchestra. I found myself getting completely lost in the harmonizing guitar parts like I was being hypnotized, and although I would’ve preferred the audio to be a little drier in the finished mix, Smith manages to transcend any minor production flaws and provide us with a totally fulfilling piece of audio.
I’ve been following his career for a little while now, and it’s become quite clear to both myself and my contemporaries that while Scott Smith has clearly established his persona and artistic identity for all of his fans to fall in love with, he isn’t afraid of change or incorporating new influences into his ever developing style of folk rock. “I Will Love You” is a great introduction into the newest chapter of his career, and if the rest of the tracks on Igniting the Flame live up to the quality of this single, it’s sure to become one of the biggest selling indie releases of 2018.