Kenny and Amanda Smith have been one of bluegrass music’s most beloved duos since their debut release, Slowly But Surely, in 2001. It’s very easy to see why. Not only does the couple have undeniable personal and musical chemistry, but they’ve always presented first rate material both on stage and in the studio. This is especially evident on Kenny and Amanda’s latest effort, All I Need.
The recording opens with Everything to Me. Penned by Dalton Harper, this fast paced song about picking up the pieces at the end of a relationship demonstrates the instrumental consistency that Kenny and Amanda Smith have always possessed. Along with the Smiths on guitar and vocals, instrumental backing is provided by Cory Piatt on mandolin, Justin Jenkins on banjo, and Kyle Perkins on bass. Harmony vocals are sung by Zack Arnold and Wayne Winkle.
Middle of August, co-written by Wayne Winkle and Craig Market, is the perfect track to follow the opening song. It contains a positive message about maintaining resilience in the face of adversity.
The title track, All I Need, is another track with a positive connotation. Written by Americana artist Ryan Shupe, this cheerful song is one of several covers on this project. The lyrics express the satisfaction and contentment a romance can offer.
Short Life of Trouble was written by G.B. Grayson, and first recorded by Burnett and Rutherford in 1926. The Kenny and Amanda Smith Band give the song a nice mid-tempo treatment, with great instrumental solos from both Jenkins and Piatt.
Denver is a lesser known song that might be familiar to some bluegrass aficionados. Written by Larry McPeak, Kenny and Amanda Smith’s arrangement sticks fairly close to the rendition that was recorded by the Virginia Squires on their 1988 album, Variations.
Mountain Top is a true standout on this project. Written by Wayne Winkle and Gerald Ellenburg, this song has it all. With lyrics in the traditional bluegrass vein, this piece has an especially catchy melody and an infectious rhythmic groove.
All I Need is another remarkable effort. From the song selection, to the vocals and musicianship, this release encapsulates why fans continue to be drawn to the music of Kenny and Amanda Smith. It’s an excellent addition to their growing catalogue of recorded works.