In the year 2000, I was 18. I was heavily invested in music as a life saving mechanism. I slept with Tori Amos tapes on repeat and woke replenished. I spent paycheck after paycheck, earned while working on a marina on a tourist lake, on albums by women. I fell in love with Sarah’s Harmer and Slean, I devoted my heart to Patty Griffin.
I’ve grown up since then. I graduated high school, went to college, failed out, and dropped the singer-songwriter women I had once so loved from my mixtapes. I stopped visiting that record store and I moved on to men with voices. I’ve let them speak for me in the last 10 or so years and with the exception of very few solo female artists, I ignore the woman who is making a go of it alone, on the back of just her own words and sounds. Such things are tragedies for ladies as in love with the idea of a woman powerful just because she is a woman. But such things are quickly remedied by the music of Savannah Smith.
At just 22, Smith is talented beyond her years and that at first listen is certainly obvious. Her tumblr, that place that is occasionally a respite for young girls to fawn over fake Marilyn Monroe quotes and block type over Instagram photos, is full of intelligence and awesome Loretta Lynn t-shirts that typically girls of her age do not appreciate nor wear. This is not a slight against the younger women of my generation but I think it’s fair to note that Smith has transcended what we too often view as a representation of what makes a girl a girl in this day and age. Smith is smart in her musical icons (and really folks, that matters more than most know or will admit), and as such, is a shining beacon in a land of manufactured pop icons shoved down our throats as if there are no intelligent options for those of us ladies that wish for beauty, thoughtfulness, and utter truth in our music.
In a world where Taylor Swift, lovely as the young girls think she is, can get a record deal and Billboard hits because she got broken up with and can rhyme a few words together decently, Savannah Smith is a breath of fresh air. There is hope for your young girls, there is hope for our gender, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for a girl who loves her ukulele as much as all the other girls love the idea of their wedding. She is a refreshing reminder in this day and age when too much stock is put into the color of your prom dress instead of the contents of your heart. We are smart, we can do it on our own, we have talent. Smith is proof of that.
We are fed Rihanna and we are fed Nicki Minaj, as if those are our only options as women who are in search of a musician to speak for and with us. If you do not seek out your own Amanda Shires’ or Jenn Wasner’s then those are the options. Thankfully, there are artists like those women though and Savannah Smith to remind us that you can be smart and adorable all at once. You can adhere to your ideals and your love of your of your uke, however unconventional, and I will hear it. Girls like me will get it and love it. The guys at Show Me Shows will hear it, recognize it’s merit, and they will produce beautiful videographic memories of it, like the two above.