Hillary Smith and Soul Kitchen from the Santa Fe Performance Exchange

With a deep soulfulness rooted in the Gospel-driven churches of her youth, a classically trained vocal instrument that's a natural wonder, and a God-given instinct for swinging a lyric, vocalist Hillary Smith has been electrifying audiences across the United States for more than a quarter century.

Along with her band of solidly innovative fellow musicians, Soul Kitchen ( Chris Dacup on guitar, Marcus Casman on bass, and Dave Bryant on drums ) creates a dynamic blues-drenched sound that musically wanders somewhere between Saturday night revelry and Sunday morning redemption. Hillary Smith and Soul Kitchen's latest CD, No Easy Way walked away with five 2009 NM Music Awards, including Best of the Year.