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Shevy Smith at Monmouth College
Concert Review By: Brianna Nightingale, CSO Contributing Journalist

When I learned that Shevy Smith was going to perform at Monmouth College just half an hour from me, I knew I had to attend her concert. Although this was the fourth time I saw her in the last fourteen months, I still found her entire show to be riveting. This young songwriter was raised in the small town of Haven, Kansas (which she notes is “incidentally one letter short of Heaven”). On her website she describes Haven as a town where “quilts are made by hand, pie-baking is a highly practiced art, and folks can turn an old cottonwood tree into a beautiful kitchen table in a mere afternoon.”

Catching the audience’s attention immediately, Smith launched into her set with a piece called “Born To Be” from her newest album, September Songs. Transitioning into chords from the next song, “Blueprint,” Smith never stopped strumming the strings of her gorgeous Dove guitar, one of Gibson’s finest acoustic guitars, while she told stories about her songs.

Predominantly influenced by her parents choice of music, which mostly included Emmy Lou Harris and Tom Petty, “70’s Radio” is a song that describes the nights Smith’s father would take her and her brothers to test drive cars they knew they couldn’t afford. Smith and her siblings would gripe about the music they were forced to listen to; however, a few years later, her outlook changed. She eventually told her third grade teacher that she wanted to be Tom Petty when she grew up.

Mentioning her admiration for Petty, Smith lunged into her favorite part of the show: testing the audience’s singing ability with a few verses of “Free Falling.” After “Red Rock Road” and a new song that isn’t on either of Smith’s albums, she played my current favorite song of hers, “Master Peace.” Although all of her lyrics are inspirational, those for this tune are perfect for what I’m going through right now: graduating from college.

“Here we are now at this turning point in time / what we do now is how we will be defined / fight for love but hate how we fight / a million faces from different places all just tryin’ to get it right / and I’m just trying to matter.”

Following that with my second favorite song, “Hummingbird,” Smith wrapped up the show with “Wichita,” “Circus Girl,” which is a new one, and “Shine,” the song she says she lives by these days.

Anyone who is fortunate enough to see this brilliant artist in concert will leave with a smile on their face. Smith is inspirational, fun and undeniably open to talk to fans after each show. Whether onstage singing or off stage posing for photographs and getting to know her fans, Smith never disappoints an audience.

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