Craig Havighurst
January 23, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

This Long Island minister’s daughter moved to Nashville nearly broke. Five years of patient performing and writing later, she was tapped to sing ”Jolene” on a Dolly Parton tribute and to make her debut CD. In a bold, wistful alto that recalls Alison Krauss and Patty Griffin, Smith offers rocking folk gospel, understated studies of insecurity and loss, and pacifying pleas for faith. Some, like the I-will-conquer ode ”Fighting for It All,” could use more lyrical daring, but Smith’s is a striking new voice.

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