It takes quite a bit of country/folk chutzpah to take on a song as legendary as Dolly Parton's "Jolene," but that's exactly what Mindy Smith, a 37-year-old singer/songwriter from Long Island, did in 2003. Smith's version of the song appeared on the Parton tribute record Because I'm a Woman.
Seems Dolly herself caught wind of the recording and was so impressed with Smith's version that Parton added her own vocals to a new mix of the song, and that's the version that ended up on Smith's debut album One Moment More.
Since then, Smith has stayed busy, releasing three more records, including Stupid Love, which came out this summer. Love may well be Smith's high-water mark and the album's "Highs and Lows" is certainly one of the best Americana releases of the year. Furthermore, Smith has the ability to mix in a bit of pop and even some alternative rock into her rootsy tales of surviving the times.
Fans of Norah Jones and Alison Krauss would do well to venture down to the West Side this evening for a taste of Mindy Smith at House of Blues. Even with her recent disclosure of having obsessive-compulsive disorder, Smith's star is definitely on the rise.