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The Diamond Hand

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Album Review

After announcing it in 2005, it almost seemed like Shawn Smith's The Diamond Hand, originally the name of the collaborative project meant to record the album, would never fully surface. Its 2008 release was worth the wait, though; if Smith's lovely, rich vocals provide no change from before, that's precisely why The Diamond Hand is such a joy. If anything, the key signifier of the album is its dark undertow in many of the arrangements — also not too much of a surprise given Smith's past work in bands and solo, but the contrast between Smith's exultant singing and the moody feedback growls on "Ring That Bell" and the calm drones in the background of "Back into Me" has rarely seemed so strong since his guest work with the Afghan Whigs. Perhaps tellingly, Smith's major partner on the album is Harold Chichester, another Afghan Whigs fellow traveler; Keith Lowe also turns up on a number of songs but ultimately there's no one common thread beyond Smith himself, his warm singing never placing a false step. Whether it's the shuffling beats and piano on "Losing Home" or the stirring surge of "Toss It in the Fire," one of the better anthems for a pantheistic approach out there at present, Smith pretty well nails it song for song. Perhaps one of the sweetest touches occurs on "The Congregation," where two young girls provide the voices of the title, but Smith then tops that later with "Original Hymn," with just his overdubbed vocals, piano, and trumpet on the album's most stunningly beautiful moment, a hushed invocation in a darkened sanctuary.

Customer Reviews

The very best

This album rocks, Shawn's at his rockin best with tracks like "At War" and "Ring that bell" you'l be reaching for the volume to turn it up! Nice ballads too "toss it in the fire" and "for everyone to see" Shawn is one of the greatest "un-discovered" NW artists still performing today. This album has been available from Shawn for a few months but htis is the "official release", I'm downloading it! Thanks Shawn, keep up the good work! Mark (Bumbershoot-guy)

Amazing voice and skills...been a fan for years..once you get hooked

Shawn is an amazing talent. I just wish a big record label would see all his talent..He writes beautiful songs...

Return of The Underdog

Shawn Smith is beyond superb. This album will not get listened to enough due to his relatively under-the-radar persona. His melodies transcend. His lyrics cover the spectrum of emotion. His phrasing, his musicianship, the textures...all so damn good. I hope everyone stops by to listen and does themself the favor of buying this album, and perhaps even writes a review to spur others to support Shawn. This album should be everywhere. THANK YOU, SHAWN!


Genre: Rap

Years Active: '00s

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (and admitted Prince disciple) Shawn Smith is probably best-known among Pearl Jam fans, since he's the frontman for PJ guitarist Stone Gossard's on-again, off-again side band, Brad. But in addition to Brad, Smith has been involved in several other projects since the early '90s, including launching a solo career just prior to the dawn of the new millennium. Born on October 28, 1965 in Spokane, WA, Smith became interested in music at an early age (originally...
Full Bio
The Diamond Hand, Shawn Smith
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Customer Ratings