Compass Records




"The resulting dozen tracks deliver the smart, sophisticated folk-rock Smith has excelled at for three decades." 
Austin American-Statesman

“Blessed with a seemingly effortless melodic gift and one of the warmest,
most penetrating vocal deliveries in American music”
—No Depression 

“His burnished, smooth vocals are perfect especially over a
warm cup of cappuccino on a Sunday morning.”
— American Songwriter 



April 7th, 2017 - Nashville, TNDarden Smith is a singer-songwriter based in Austin whose thirty-year career redefines what it means to be a musician. In addition to fifteen critically acclaimed albums, Smith continues to break new ground using the craft of songwriting in education, entrepreneurship, and in service to others as the founder and creative director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, a nonprofit program that pairs award-winning songwriters with veterans and service members to craft their stories about combat and the return home into songs.  Rooted in the songwriting traditions of his home state of Texas, he is described by All Music Guide as “a singer-songwriter blessed with an uncommon degree of intelligence, depth, and compassion.” 

“SongwritingWith:Soldiers has shown me the world from a different angle. To recognize all that I have to be grateful for and to know that others hurt in ways we can’t imagine. I’ve witnessed how songs can change a life, even save a life. Over the years, they’ve certainly saved mine."   

He accepted the prestigious Community Grant this year at SXSW on behalf of the project, which is just one of the many places he’s taken his gift and passion for songwriting. He served as Artist-In-Residence at Oklahoma State University’s Institute for Creativity and Innovation and the Riata School of Entrepreneurship, he leads songwriting workshops in the US and the UK, and works with major companies using songwriting to inspire creativity and collaboration within the traditional work environment.  He also contributes to The Huffington Post, most recently with an article entitled “I’m Done with Cynicism”.    

“The collective yelling of politics, the news, social media – we’re stuck in a digital traffic jam where nothing changes and the volume just gets louder. Never has the need for human kindness, compassion for strangers, and speaking up for love been higher. The best tool I’ve got is music, it’s what I can do to reach out to others.”

His observations led him to begin the process of creating EVERYTHING.

“I started digging through songs I’d written over the last five years, on my own and with people like Matraca Berg, Radney Foster, James House, Jay Clementi, and Bruce Robison. I kept writing. I reached out to Stewart Lerman, who co-produced six records with me, starting in 1996 with DEEP FANTASTIC BLUE. We started with thirty songs and narrowed it down to twelve. I put together a group of some of my favorite musicians and friends – Roscoe Beck (bass), Michael Ramos (keyboards), J.J. Johnson (drums), Charlie Sexton (guitar), and David Mansfield (mandolin, pedal steel and strings) – and we gathered in late August 2016 for three days of recording at Arlyn Studios in Austin, Texas. James House, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bonnie Bishop, Kelly Willis, and Bruce Robison sang harmony." 

A personal milestone was also part of his motivation. “I crossed the mid-century mark several years ago. I don’t see things the way I did before. More than ever I believe in love, hope, faith and gratitude. It’s a view that only comes with time. The stakes are different now, more urgent.”

When asked why he chose to make another album Darden says, "Because I have something to say, and somebody out there might need to hear it. I carried this question around for a few years. It took awhile, but I found the answer – EVERYTHING."

EVERYTHING is out today on Compass Records.



Watch the trailer for EVERYTHING.







1. Blessings 

2. Firefly 

3. Against the Grain

4. I Love You, Goodbye  

5. Everything 

6. Love Will Win the War 

7. Soul Searching 

8. Me Too 

9. Carousel 

10. Can You See the Moon




April 07 – Dosey Doe’s Big Barn – The Woodlands, TX

April 08 – Stateside at the Paramount – Austin, TX

April 09 – Live At Drew’s – Ringwood, NJ

April 11 – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA

April 12 – One Longfellow Square – Portland, ME

April 13 – Caffe Lena – Saratoga Springs, NY

April 14 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY

May 02 – Songwriting With: Soldiers - Bluemont, VA

May 07 – NB House Concerts – New Braunfels, TX

May 10 – Hotel Ella Salon Series – Stories and Songs with special guests 

May 12 – Historic House Concerts – Forney, TX

May 13 – Wyldewood Shows – Austin, TX

May 19 – Chesterfield, MO Breakroom Concerts

June 22  – County Line Bareque – San Antonio, TX

June 29 – Shady Grove – Austin, TX

June 30 – Keynote Speech – Austin, TX

October 21 – Odeon Theater – Mason, TX 

October 25 – The Bluebird – Nashville, TN 

October 27 – DownTowne Listening Room – Cincinnati, OH

October 28 – Indianapolis Art Center – Indianapolis, IN




Christina Dunkley | Compass Records | 615.320.7672



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