Rachel McIntyre Smith - Glory Daze



There’s beauty in simplicity. In a culture where art is called ‘content’ and we’re constantly oversaturated and overstimulated by sounds and images, it’s easy to lose sight of that. All the music on this gorgeous six-track debut EP is organically alluring, stylish and well-produced. It’s a record that sneaks up on you, with new layers to the material revealing themselves with each listen. While it’s hard to apply an exact comparison to Rachel’s easily accessible sound, suffice it to say that Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift merge the influence of Southern literary authors with the rhythm and melody of life. Barely into her twenties, she puts a refreshing spin on young love and small-town life as she skates a fine line between humor and sweet nostalgias. Some of the songs are amusingly melancholy while others are sadly funny. It’s pretty traditional on the instrumentation side of things—acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, pedal steel, banjo—while Rachel’s soft twangy vocals and lyrics help it slide further into the contemporary, acoustic country sound. It may be a bit vanilla for some folks, especially those that prefer heavy rhythmic tracks, but it’s a solid effort with plenty of superbly written, thoughtfully interesting, radio-friendly songs.

Rachel’s native small-town East Tennessee upbringing is conveyed via the opening title track that explores the uncertainties of morphing from childhood into an adult. Dreamy and understated, minimalistic and naturalistic with Andy Ellison’s wistful steel guitar swirling around her regretful vocals for what used to be. No matter what direction life takes us, somehow we stay established to our roots. Whether it’s obvious or not exactly accessible, our past is there and a part of who we are. Moments like this pop up throughout this mini album, the little details that raise the quality of each song. She carries this message one step further in the infectious Queen Of Our Hometown, which lists off the familiar descriptors of benefits of small town life in comparison to big city life. Smooth and catchy, with soft banjo lines alongside acoustic guitar and mandolin picking, producer/musician Dran Michael creates a sonic world that feels light and airy.

Twists of humour are at the forefront of Miss Highfalutin, an encouragement to a small-town girl who’s got above her raising, to treat people with the same kindness and dignity one would expect from them with some great lines such as ‘Well it takes a dirty bird to mess in its own nest’ which should bring forth a ready smile or maybe even a belly laugh. Rachel’s clever lyricism also blossoms in The Woulds, in which she questions all her decisions and what would’ve happened if she’d followed different paths and finally decides that she’s more than happy in ‘the Woulds.’ First Love is an unabashed memoir to that very first romance, that remains unmatched, despite the passing of years and other relationships. By expressing the sentiment simply and clearly, Rachel underscores its poignancy.

Closing out the collection of solely self-penned songs is High School Reunion, which reminisces on the excitement of the get-together. A blissful, breezy vibe underscored by hints of melancholy that finds her wising up to what life is really all about: being true to yourself before you can be true to others.

Like the poets and authors she loves, Rachel McIntyre Smith’s creative existence blatantly challenges a status quo that favors commerce over art. She is primed in the art of feel-good life stories. That's why this EP washes over you with the joy of a playground crush, as immediate as the rose coloured glow that tinted your cheeks years ago. In short, her music is charming, witty, and authentic, adding further credence to the idea of youthful enthusiasm.


September 2022