Darden Smith

Named after a local rodeo rider, Darden Smith grew up in Austin, TX. In the 1980s, the rootsy singer/songwriter began building quite a following, and his independent 1986 debut was snapped up by Epic.

Three of its cuts were re-recorded for 1988's Native Soil; the single "Little Maggie" placed on the country charts. Trouble No More -- a collaboration with British songwriter Boo Hewerdine of the Bible -- followed in 1990. Three years later, Smith distanced himself even further from his country roots with the pop-oriented Little Victories. While he was a critical favorite, drawing comparisons to such mature songwriters as John Hiatt, Epic still dropped him from its roster. 1996's Deep Fantastic Blue appeared on the indie Plump; it was an accomplished collection of folk-tinged pop. The favorites set Extra Extra followed in 2000, and the introspective, jazz-tinged Sunflower appeared in summer 2002. It was a far cry from the dusty roots of Smith's early work, yet cut from the same intuitive songwriting cloth. Smith released the similarly curious Circo in 2004, and Field of Crows in 2005. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi

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