When a CD such as Just A Smile Away comes into my hands, it’s nice to be reminded that there is more than just rock, metal and alternative music being created in Fort Wayne’s original music scene. Chris Worth, the creator of this particular un-rock/metal/alternative release, is well-known as being half of the duo Paul & Chris. While no names were included in the CD booklet, I strongly suspect that Paul Stewart is the man behind the layers of synthesizer that form the musical foundation for Chris’ vocals.
In fact, as far as my ears can tell, everything instrumental on this album came from a synthesizer. For Worth’s accessible pop and R&B, the infectiously energetic keyboards only add to the excitement of the music.
The album opens with “Woncha Come Dance With Me,” a lively R&B dance song designed to lift your spirits and get your body moving. This song might be a live recording captured at Piere’s, but again, there is no mention in the liner notes of where the CD was recorded or who wrote what songs, so I’m just going by my woman’s intuition. “Lookin’ For A Woman Maybe” is a great song for slow dancing, as is “Valorie,” which adds a female vocal harmony part, making the song almost a duet. A mysterious, eastern-tinged melody and a muffin-shop full of interesting percussion parts make “Stand Righteous” a stand out track. The title track is another hit with bittersweet lyrics such as “Girl it’s a shame we don’t let our feelings show/ You’re just a smile away from love.” Not to be overlooked is “Kenyan Sunrise,” a very pleasing instrumental piece with an enjoyable keyboard melody played over tribal percussion rhythms.
While it’s doubtful any recording could ever capture the charisma and energy Worth exudes while performing, Just A Smile Away is a great collection of uplifting, danceable R&B songs by one of Fort Wayne’s finest singers.
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July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion