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Rachel Smith

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Beautiful & fierce evocative/eclectic experimental folk-rock/alternative pop


Most recent release, famous secrets (2006)

See also:

Rachel Smith's CDBaby page


Tamara Williamson (solo and Mrs. Torrance), Rebecca Moore, '80s-era Jane Siberry, Sara Craig, Karen Peris (Innocence Mission), Veda Hille

Covers/own material:


General comments:

Discovering Rachel Smith was like discovering a cool breeze on a hot day. Her music showed me that there are still ways of making pop songs that are innovative and edgy and yet melodic and catchy. Full of interesting tunes that stick in your head because you admire them. Extremely personal lyrics which are still universal—allusive yet not cryptic.
     She has an interesting voice (her press describes it as "tequila poured over honey") and she knows how to use it. Lots of interesting piano and guitar and harmonies, too.
     She seems like a kind of combination of Tamara Williamson of solo work and the band Mrs. Torrance, Rebecca Moore, and '80s-era Jane Siberry, Sara Craig, and maybe a touch of Karen Peris from Innocence Mission. And very like Veda Hille in her individual approach to pop and her way with a tune and lyrics. Not a combination that it's easy to imagine but once you listen to her you'll know what I mean.
     This is subtle, unique music that deserves attention. And she's only just begun her career. Amazing. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

the clearing


the clearing

Release info:



See CDbaby website

Ecto priority:

Highest recommendation

Group members:

Rachel Smith—vocals, guitar, piano

Guest artists:

Krista Muir—violin on 2 tracks, backing vocals on 1 track
Karl Mohr—sampler, keyboards on 3 tracks, accordion on 2 tracks
Jason Corey—bass on 2 tracks
Gascia Ouzounian—violin on 1 track
Jennika Anthony-Shaw—cello
Dave Laing—drums on 3 tracks
Robin Buckley—drums on 3 tracks
Chris Bradley bass on 4 tracks
Tanisha Taitt—backing vocals on 1 track

Produced by:

Rachel Smith and Jason Corey, one track produced by Karl Mohr


This is one of my favourite discs of the year. I've been playing and playing and playing it. It's experimental pop, sweet and a touch edgy and full of interesting, allusive lyrics, strange little hooks and tunes and ways of putting songs together. Each tune has its own personality, and yet the album flows as a whole. I'm especially in utter love with the most Jane Siberry-like song, the album closer, "the waves", and the tango, "juanita", but the whole disc is a delight and I could list things I especially love about each song here.
     I can't get enough of it. I highly recommend that if you miss late-'80s Jane Siberry, especially, or simply if this description sounds interesting, you check out the samples on CDBaby.
     What a subtle and amazing first disc! (Neile)

The Clearing, is absolutely great. Wow. This album just blew me away on the first listen, and has spent a lot of time in my CD player since then. I'm finding that I enjoy it more and more as I keep listening to it, which is always the sign of a good album. All of the good things you've read about it here on ecto are true, so head over to CDBaby and buy yourself a copy. (

The Rachel Smith album is a must have. (

Rachel Smith's The Clearing is wonderful. (neal)

famous secrets

Release info:



CD Baby

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachel Smith—vocals, piano, keyboards, Wurlizter, guitar, handclaps

Guest artists:

Tamara Williamson—backing vocals, guitar, squeezebox, handclaps
Mitch Girio—bass
Blake Howard—drums, percussion
Joanathan Seet—guitar
Morgan Doctor—drums
Al Okada—vibes, organ, mellotron, drums (5)
Ryan Carley—keys, ducks
Sam Simmons—cello

Produced by:

Tamara Williamson; 1 track by Al Okada


famous secrets is more lo fi, lower key, looser, and somewhat subtler in effect than Rachel Smith's debut (though The Clearing was plenty subtle). This new album doesn't have the immediately galvinizing effect that The Clearing had on me, but its charm becomes more apparent with each listening. This is clearly an album that will continue to grow on me as I get to know it better—it's compelling from the start, as Rachel Smith's vocals and songwriting here are strong, mature, and affecting. Highly recommended.
     I have to say that it really amuses me that I compared her first album to Tamara Williamson's work and Rachel Smith worked with her closely on this follow-up album. (Neile)

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2015-05-25 00:17:35.
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