That's What Love Can Do (Bell Buckle)
Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike

By Bob Mitchell

Smith's fourth release is a showcase for her raspy vocals and outstanding band, Liberty Pike. The press release says this project has a "sound that can relate to a larger audience." Fair enough. Although not strictly bluegrass, it is an enjoyable presentation of multiple musical influences. One of my favorite tracks was a swinging arrangement of "Buzzed" with the incredibly solid bass line from Missy Raines. The opening guitar chords of "Falling" sounded like bossa nova bluegrass but the tempo quickly shifted gears to grassy sounds with a jazz influence. The harmony vocal from Russell Moore and banjo of Patton Wages made the song even sweeter. A zesty medley of "Rocky Island" and "Sally Goodin'" anchored by John Wesley Lee's mandolin and Jessica Lee's bass mix traditional and contemporary bluegrass. Johnny and Jessica Lee also shine brightly on "In Those Mines."

Throughout this recording a listener is exposed to a gentle side of Smith. That gentleness is especially evident on the lovely "Planet Or A Star," "Fill My Every Need," "Healing Hills," and "Peace Of The River" with it's best wishes for a good life.

The workhorse on this recording was Becky Buller, fiddler extraordinaire, who also contributed viola, clawhammer banjo and harmony vocals. Her musical support was consistently tasteful and substantive. Additionally, Buller wrote three tunes: a poignant "Heaven Is Waiting," the haunting "In Those Mines," and an energetic "Engineer." As if her first rate fills, solos and original songs were not enough, she also assisted with CD's graphic design.

Another highlight was Andy Hall's resophonic guitar. His work was consistently commendable but no more so than on "Sally Goodin'" and "Engineer."

For more information, check out www.BellBuckleRecords.com