During the last 20 years, singer/songwriter Darden Smith has gone from folk to country to pop and back again. Along the way, he recorded ten albums. His debut was the 1986 release Native Soil, which featured Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith, then also newcomers, on background vocals. He's based in Austin now, but for a while a teenaged Smith lived here in Houston. It was, according to him, culture shock. (He was from Brenham, for goodness' sake!) While here, Smith studied the song structures of folks like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, which served him well.
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It seemed Smith was destined for a country music career, until he teamed up with Boo Hewerdine from the British band The Bible for a 1986 duet album that sent him off in a different direction. The two got together again in 1996. Things were up and down for Smith during the next few years (a divorce, getting cut by his record label), and then he released the highly personal Sunflower in 2002, followed by Circo in 2004. Through it all, Smith has remained committed to heartfelt Texas music (whatever that means at the moment). So, will fans get Smith's folk, country or pop side? Probably his smooth acoustic pop side, with echoes of Americana nipping at the edges.