*Rhonda Smith is the uber talented bassist/writer/singer who has worked with a cornucopia of major league musicians such as Prince, Jeff Beck, Chaka Khan, Patrice Rushen, Little Richard, Erykah Badu, Beyonce’ and T.I.
In the past, she has released two albums of her own. Now 15 years after her last full CD, she is returning with a bittersweet yet gorgeous new single/video entitled “Won’t Come Back” – thematically concerning a lover who hid things from her that destroyed her trust to the point where her love for them, sadly, will never return. Fittingly, the haunting ballad features Rhonda playing the ever-emotive fretless electric bass.
“Won’t Come Back” smacks of intimate autobiography with lines such as “Your mama thought I was a leper / Yeah, I could have played it better / But she knew about your shady past…” and “You used to write me steamy letters / My self-proclaimed protector.” Singing her own leads and backgrounds, Rhonda comes off deep in reflection and sincerity, mirrored in the video by a translucent bass guitar, blue lights and scenes of her looking out over sunrise/sunset skylines draped in sexy galactica outfits…like a once earthbound woman catapulted into deep space and singing the blues… Echoing all of this is that crying fretless bass, melodically and tastefully soaking in tear pools of regret.
It is that bass that longtime fans will wish they could hear more of on the fade out ad libs. She puts it to such economically fine use out of the choruses and on the bridge. But a meatier solo at the end – at least under her closing vocal vamp – would have further set her apart from other singer/songwriters by reveling more in that thing which sets her apart from the rest – her virtuosity as an instrumentalist on top of lyricist and vocalist. Perhaps she feels it would be out of place within this love song or that today’s audience can’t handle more than four bars sans verbiage. On the plus side…it leaves you craving to hear much more of her playing.
Rhonda Smith – ‘Won’t Come Back’
(Slow Wine Music/Orchard/Sony Music)