“The gen­er­ic­ally named song­writer makes music that is any­thing but… Recall­ing Kings of Con­veni­ence or Paul Simon at his most isol­a­tion­ist.” - Geor­gia Straight

Chris­topher Smith’s songs have that time­less sound that makes you nos­tal­gic for days gone by — days both you and Smith alike are too young to have even known. The dreams and reflec­tions he relays in song were recor­ded almost exclus­ively in bed­rooms, a nat­ural envir­on­ment for such lovely rev­er­ies as these. With a dream­like intim­acy, he sings love songs so soft and gentle they could be adult lullabies.

Smith has always been driven to cre­ate beau­ti­ful things. Hav­ing star­ted out as a visual artist, his works were exhib­ited in gal­ler­ies through­out Van­couver before he had even fin­ished high school. Since leav­ing home Christopher’s cre­at­ive focus has shif­ted to music. He began spon­tan­eously record­ing songs in the bed­rooms and liv­ing rooms of friends’ houses, each one only tak­ing a few hours to complete.

This ran­dom col­lec­tion came to be known as Lul­la­bies for Cryb­a­bies. The unre­leased EP includes the first song Smith ever wrote, a 2-​​minute youth anthem entitled “Children’s Song”. The tale of a city just for chil­dren who live “in tree houses they built for them­selves out of wood glue and red cedar” is cap­tiv­at­ing in its sim­pli­city. For all its whispered beauty, there’s a dark under­cur­rent that runs through much of Smith’s work, and it runs deep in “Sam­son Said.” The retell­ing of a bib­lic­ally dys­func­tional and destruct­ive rela­tion­ship is one Smith says with a laugh that he can relate to.

“There’s a level of roman­ti­cism to des­per­ate love songs because you want to be des­per­ately in love with someone — who wants a take it or leave it love?”

This same all or noth­ing atti­tude could explain why after a half-​​dozen years of mak­ing music in earn­est, Smith is only now releas­ing his debut. When work began on his first com­plete album, Chris­topher retreated to his stu­dio of choice – a bed­room. “I was sit­ting on a bed the whole time,” he says, adding, “the vocals were recor­ded in the bath­room.” Mod­est in exe­cu­tion, the res­ult­ing record­ing, The Beckon Call, is a hushed and intim­ate affair.

“Gently Gently” begins with whim­sical, layered vocals and gui­tars that build and then, like a veil being lif­ted, quickly drop away into a sad and simple love song telling of the dilemma faced as a rela­tion­ship comes to a close; one of dis­en­chant­ment, and an unwill­ing­ness to simply let it die.

At times naively sen­ti­mental, the songs that make up The Beckon Call are full of insec­ur­ity and fail­ure. Rud­der­less, Smith sings of sur­render and this is far more real and true and romantic than any sac­char­ine love song could ever hope to be. Smith under­stands bey­ond his years what Nick Cave meant in say­ing “The love song is a sad song, it is the sound of sor­row itself.”

With a sigh, “Two Straw­ber­ries in a Jam” lists off the things one loves about another, in the hope that per­haps some day this admir­a­tion could be requited. The mel­an­choly and vul­ner­ab­il­ity of the song can be summed up by the album’s title. A beckon call is in itself a hope­ful invit­a­tion; open­ing one­self up for deliv­er­ance from solitude.

As truly beau­ti­ful as these songs are, their depth is forged in vul­ner­ab­il­ity and grief. Some love is eph­em­eral. Paper chains may bind us but are eas­ily broken. Some loves are a bur­den worth car­ry­ing. We lose ourselves. But without get­ting lost, how would we ever know we want to be found?