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These whiskey-voiced songs of riverboats, New Orleans nights and past loves will speak to you like mellow old friends. None will blow you away the first time through, but many will replay themselves in your head long after you’ve turned the CD off.

Stanley Smith sings, plays clarinet and picks his acoustic guitar with a deceptive artlessness, planting ideas in the minds of his listeners and then anticipating and satisfying their desires for what comes next. Just when you think that a tune could use a little more of this or that, the slow burn of a steel guitar or a warbling line from a clarinet drops in and feels so right that you may think they are composing the songs themselves. Smith is either a mind reader or, as he says by e-mail from Austin, Texas, “just not the type to beat people up with my music.”

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