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She talks about being one of God's creatures and about being put on earth for a specific purpose.
She alludes to God working directly in people's lives and to having her prayers answered (or just as often, not).
Gold and platinum LPs line the walls, and trade magazines are scattered everywhere.
Smith, a naturalized daughter of Tennessee whose Long Island brogue intensifies the more emphatic she gets, looks pretty damn cool -- rocker chick cool -- in her stovepipe jeans, knee-high boots, and cotton tunic.
"It tends to be a lot of what I write about," she says. I think everybody, most people do." For all of Smith's talk of matters of the spirit, she insists her music isn't explicitly Christian. I would go if I found one that I was comfortable enough in." So how do you get fed spiritually, if not in a community of other people? "I don't know." Then, after a short pause, she lowers her voices and adds, "Maybe that's something I should think about. If I don't know what I'm talking about, I won't write about it. " "I hope so," she says after I nod my head by way of affirmation. "I've been really blessed in people's reaction to me," she goes on.
"You can try to deny that you're a dog lover, but if you love dogs, you're going to love dogs. I'm just saying that sometimes it's easier to figure out how to go with your own flow. "I actually don't really spend a lot of time physically going to church," Smith explains. "I have really neat people that I admire who have really neat outlooks on the world and we all just kind of visit and chat," she goes on. "People who maybe need to have a voice or something.
"It's just about the fellowship." Smith certainly doesn't see her music as a vehicle for converting anybody. People who say, 'That's what I've been trying to say but I didn't have any idea how to put it into words.'" Smith cites Buddy Miller's Universal United House Of Prayer as a recent, and singularly prophetic, case of an album conveying a crucial spiritual message and doing so outside of a narrowly religious format.
"That was an amazing record, but it wasn't your typical gospel record," Smith says. I love me some good old Bill Gaither Trio, I'm not going to say that I don't.
Both Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" and Hoobastank's "The Reason", the latter not an expressly religious record but one that resonated with young Christians, topped Billboard's Hot 100. Meanwhile, Josh Turner's "Long Black Train", a latter-day gospel number, reached the top of the Billboard country singles chart."I wish I knew how to get to where it's just cool," Smith says, using the word cool as a euphemism for peace of mind and pronouncing it the way Rickie Lee Jones might."I am a war zone with myself and I write about it," Smith goes on, pushing her sunglasses up into her lank brown hair.Within its first 20 minutes, she prays for a broken world ("Out Loud") and sings about leaps of faith ("Edge Of Love"), a soul on fire ("Please Stay"), and the key to heaven ("I'm Not The Only One Asking")."I know I'm not the only one waiting among wandering souls down here/So brother if you know the answer, please whisper it in my ear," she beseeches on the chorus of "I'm Not The Only One", a neo-Appalachian Goth-rocker flecked with lap steel and octave mandolin.
Granted, some of the language Smith employs on her record is metaphorical, grist for her musings on the ins and outs of love.