Roots/rock legend Broderick Smith is an open book wrapped in an enigma. More is revealed by Man Out Of Time, also the title of his newly published memoir. His first solo album since Unknown Country (2008) is equally evocative, those unmistakable vocals all the more compelling with the passing of time.
On harmonica, he remains one of this county’s best proponents. Yet it’s a passion for storytelling that stands at the centre of Smith’s craft. He advocates for truth and justice – striving to correct historical fake news and cast kinder eyes upon today’s lost souls. As monuments to colonial ‘heroes’ are slowly dismantled, ‘Angus McMillan’ sets the record straight on the dubious practices of a Gippsland ‘forefather’.
‘The Desert Blooms Again’ sweeps sensory brushstrokes across an Australia both contemporary and timeless. ‘She Is Still Beautiful’ celebrates one who hardly knew she ever was. He sings of the artist he never wants to be (‘Singer In Chains’), the legacy some create (‘When The Minstrel Passes’) and the ‘Man Out Of Time’ who goes about his honest business in an affluence-driven world.
Co-writers include Matt Walker, Kevin Bennett and Backsliders Dom Turner and Rob Hirst. Sparse instrumentation is a mixed palette of strings, keys and rhythms. Pedal steel (Shane Reilly) and flute (Stu MacKenzie) echo sombre, wistful and resolute tones. Time is relative and Man Out of Time has been well worth the wait.
Reviewed by Chris Lambie