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Mindy Smith – Snowed In

Mindy Smith – Snowed In

Mindy Smith Snowed In - Christmas music CD MP3Buy On Amazon    Buy On iTunes
Released October 29, 2013.
Produced by Steve Buckingham, Mindy Smith.

I stumbled onto Mindy Smith via her 2007 Christmas album, My Holiday and quickly sought her year-round music which I’ve been enjoying ever since. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter released her fifth full-length album in 2012, and returned in 2013 with her second disc of holiday music, this time in the form of a 5-song EP called Snowed In.

Though brief in length, Snowed In is similar to My Holiday in that it has something for everyone. Two new original songs are included, along with three traditional tunes, and there is a mix of religious and secular material.

“Tomorrow is Christmas Day” is an upbeat offering with lightweight lyrical material (“Santa Claus is on his way, bringing toys on his sleigh.”) Slower and darker, “What Child Is This” is a traditional take on the yuletide classic. The title track is a romantic acoustic guitar ballad about a fireside evening with the object of one’s affection. Featuring electric piano, acoustic guitar flourishes and Smith’s clear, sweet vocals, “Silent Night” is a soothing version of the Christmas favorite. Snowed In draws to a close with an acoustic rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” the Scottish poem by Robert Burns set to a traditional folk tune, which is most associated with New Year’s celebrations. Smith’s thoughtful interpretation includes some of the additional verses which are rarely heard.

If you’re a fan of Mindy Smith, Snowed In provides what you’ve come to expect from her: quality songs in tasteful pop/folk/country arrangements with clean, expressive vocals and a lot of heart. If you’re new to Mindy Smith, this EP is a wonderful opportunity to acquaint yourself with this fine artist. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed

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Stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni.
(2012) Rated R. Directed by Colin Trevorrow.
Written by Derek Connolly.
Watch Safety Not Guaranteed movie trailer

One of the advantages that true low-budget independent film has over mainstream Hollywood is a lack of money. That may seem like a disadvantage, but it forces filmmakers to rely on good writing, characters and acting, rather than big-name stars, pyrotechnics and computer-generated special effects. 2012′s Safety Not Guaranteed is an excellent example of how a low-budget indie can blow away its pricier competition by getting the basics right.

Darius (Aubrey Plaza of TV’s Parks & Recreation) is a young woman who’s never felt like she fit in anywhere. She’s interning at a Seattle magazine and is chosen, along with Arnau (Karan Soni), a studious young intern of Indian descent to work with staff writer Jeff (Jake Johnson of TV’s New Girl) on a feature story. Jeff has come across a classified ad that reads: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” Jeff’s idea is to find the person who placed the ad and write a humorous article that makes fun of this seemingly unbalanced individual.

The mismatched trio sets off for the seaside town of Ocean View, Washington and discovers that the ad was placed by an eccentric grocery store stocker named Kenneth (Mark Duplass of The Puffy Chair and TV’s The League). Kenneth is turned off by Jeff’s glib approach, so Darius is sent in to pretend to be the prospective time traveler. Her aloof, somewhat combative demeanor gets Kenneth’s attention, though he is not quick to trust her sincerity. As they get to know each other and train for the time travel mission, Kenneth becomes more comfortable with Darius and she not only develops feelings for him, but becomes more open to his outrageous plan. CONTINUED