Release Date: Aug 19, 2011
Record label: Sugar Hill
I’m well aware that, especially in reviewing country albums, I hand out superlatives like they’re Halloween candy, cheapening their value by getting bogged down in needless specifics and qualifiers. So I’ll keep this one simple: Connie Smith is the best singer in the history of country music. She may not have Patsy Cline’s tragic legacy, Martina McBride’s string of industry awards, or Carrie Underwood’s rabid Internet fanbase, but in terms of power, tone, and phrasing, there’s never been another singer who can match Smith.
Connie Smith’s debut single “Once a Day” was a No. 1 country hit back in September 1964 and stayed there for eight weeks. Her career has had its ups and downs over the years, but legends such as George Jones, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley have sung Smith’s praises. Smith largely stopped recording in 1979, except for occasional sessions including a 1985 single written by Steve Earle, “A Far Cry From You”, and a comeback album co-written and co-produced by her fourth husband, Marty Stuart, in 1996.
If Connie Smith wanted to impress, she'd have hired Jack White. Instead, Smith, who made her name when Nashville, Tenn., queens wore cotton-candy hair and Tammy Wynette headed the pack, teamed with Marty Stuart for pure, rich, no-frills country music in which love and life are played out in three-minute two-steps ("Anymore") and the occasional belly-rubber ("I'm Not Blue"). .
Smith’s first LP since 1998, both classic and classicist in feel. Andrew Mueller 2011 If Long Line of Heartaches tends toward the generic in its approach to country – and it does – Connie Smith has more excuse than most. Her first ever hit, a 1964 reading of Bill Anderson’s Once a Day, remains an enduring and reliable country template. The song itself is perfect, a simple and irresistible melody carrying an equally straightforward yet effective lyrical twist, the verses noting that the singer only misses their departed lover once a day, the choruses elaborating that it’s once a day, every day, all day long.