Western Skies is an immersive journey through a world both real and imagined, a place of mystery and mythology, possibility and longing. The songs on Western Skies are spare and deliberate, often marked by a distinct sense of motion and transience, and the performances are similarly raw and intimate, reflecting the desolate beauty of the region that so captured Smith’s imagination as he crisscrossed it time and again throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think about the great contrasts here,” Smith says. “Ghosts, heroes, love and danger are ever present.” For him, the West is a weird and wonderful place where history and fantasy walk hand in hand, where the living and the dead meet beneath a sea of stars and whisper their secrets in the rumble of a distant freight train.