This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Sahara Smith

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Listen to The Real Thing


Sahara Smith is a natural. Or as the Austin Chronicle observes, “She's the real deal all

Don’t take our word for it. Listen to her debut album on Playing in Traffic Records, Myth
of the Heart, and you’re bound to agree with the Dallas Morning News that “Smith is a
revelation.” The disc is hailed as “a gorgeous album for all lovers of carefully chosen words,
rich imagery and ethereal vocals” by Texas Music magazine and “a richly impressive,
intensely soulful debut album,” by the Los Angeles Times. All that and more is to be
savored on Myth of the Heart.

It bows with the alluring “Thousand Secrets,” which opens a window on the vulnerable
places we all have, as Smith writes, “For every broken branch there is a mile of fallen
leaves/But no one knows the river flows a thousand miles deep.” Propulsive churning
tracks like “Are You Lonely,” “The Real Thing” and “All I Need” make feelings of
longing and desire palpable, while the up-tempo title song sings about resisting the urge to
love. Meditative yet kinetic auras grace Smith’s reflections on being lost within love (“Tin
Man Town”), empathy (“Angel”), mortality (“The World’s On Fire”) and life’s travails
(the closing cut “Twilight Red,” which Smith wrote at age 13). And such songs as “Train
Man,” “Midnight Plane” and “Mermaid” embody the notion of poetry in motion with their
evocative images of travel and places near and far.

The album was cut in primarily live sessions in Los Angeles, produced by Emile Kelman,
known for his longtime work with T-Bone Burnett, who shepherded the recordings. The
players include such regular Burnett associates as drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Dennis
Crouch and guitarist Marc Ribot, whose musicality bring both a deeply-rooted feel and
contemporary imagination to the album. As the Los Angeles Times describes the disc, it’s
lush with “Cinemascope-like wide-screen portraits of romantic passion, loneliness and
unrequited love.”

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