The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band, Always Never Enough

Jon Weisberger

By Jon Weisberger

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Always Never Enough

The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band
A slice of contemporary bluegrass that’ll have you hootin’ and hollerin’ all night long.

Having won the IBMA's Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2003, the husband-and-wife team of Kenny and Amanda Smith hit an artistic jackpot with this 2005 release. A one-time member of the Lonesome River Band, Smith is a fluid, inventive lead guitarist who can beat out a driving rhythm with the best, while Amanda takes the lion's share of vocal leads with a strong, expressive voice that's equally suited to the driving bluegrass of Becky Buller's “Why Do You Do What You Do” and a restrained modern ballad like “Pacific Time.” Indeed, their flexibility, along with that of banjoist Steve Huber, mandolin phenom Jason Robertson and bassist/vocalist Alan Bartram (now with Del McCoury), is probably the Smiths'greatest asset; though they lean toward contemporary material that employs more complex chord patterns and subtler melodies than the old-school classics, they never stray too far from the music's core strengths.