Bet Smith is a singer-songwriter, blacksmith and multidisciplinary artist based in Muskoka, Ontario.
Bet Smith released her third LP, Downer, on February 2nd 2021. Co-produced in Gravenhurst, Ontario by Smith and Rob Currie, Downer is a spacious, introspective alt-folk album.
While the songs on Downer are presented with the tone and intimacy of love songs, the album asks us to question our values and politics – our relationship with the planet and its people. Smith leans into topics like religion, social and economic injustice and climate change, at times presenting us with grave scenarios from a not-too-distant future.
In contrast to past releases that were sprinkled with guest appearances, Smith and Currie used 2020’s forced solitude to create a stripped-back, story-focused album. The folk song is at the centre of each track, with instrumental tracks layered selectively by both Currie and Smith. Bandmate/brother, Andrew Currie adds rhythm tracks to three of the songs as well, helping to form sonic peaks and valleys throughout an album that has been called both sombre and hauntingly beautiful.
In early January, Bet published an animated video for the album’s first single, Forgive You. Painstakingly hand-illustrated and set into motion by Bet herself, the video is a bleak portrayal of the ongoing environmental destruction occurring in the face of peaceful protest and new levels of climate awareness. The short film asks, how am I complicit? How am I benefiting from the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems and am I willing to change? The song on its own asks similar questions while stretching into the greater landscape of dissent.
Reviews for Downer
“Downer, so named because it unfolds like a stream-of-consciousness exploration of said anxieties, doesn’t feel like much of a downer to listen to. In fact, any twinge of melancholy evoked by the material is eclipsed by the thrill of discovering such a compelling talent.”
Roots Music Canada
“From the clarion beauty of its opening track to the intimate vulnerability of its last, Bet Smith’s new album, “Downer,” is a luminant collection of brave thoughts and purposeful reflection on the state of things, as we stand on the frontier of an uncertain future.”
Doug McLean for Great Dark Wonder
“Singer-songwriter Bet Smith has gained a reputation for the depth of her lyrical talents… Downer offers yet another captivating collection of songs by Bet Smith, delivered with vocal perfection… Downer is an album which comes under the category of essential listening.”
James Wilson for Indie Band Guru
“Deeply felt thought and experience permeate Smith’s lyrics bringing both the personal and the universal to the surface. Her songs remind us that we are all entwined to the earth whether or not we choose to recognise this fact; they are cautionary tales that deserve our attention.”
Richard Phillips for Americana UK
“Bet Smith’s new album is fantastic. It’s folky, it’s country, it’s spiritual rock n roll, emotional and raw… Downer rejects the b.s. esthetic and does what any good album should, uplifts the listener. Listen with an open heart, you’ll know what I mean.”
Eyes on Wax – CFUV
“The album is an unabashed and honest testament to 2020, expressed through minimalist instrumentation, evocative lyrics and powerful vocals.”
Sarah Bea Milner for Exclaim!