Posts Tagged ‘Scott Smith’

cd-1Bay Area based singer/songwriter Scott Smith creates music that consists of many different genres of music. Country, Blues and other styles all blend together to form Smith’s version of Americana. In order to help Scott Smith bring his musical vision to life, he called upon several talented people. Among them are: pianist Mitch Woods; drummer Vic Carberry; pianist and keyboardist Giovanni Imbesi; Smith’s vocal coach Gailene Elliot, sings backup; Bluegrass mandolinist David Grisman; virtuoso classical and rock violinist David LaFlamme and bassist Jeff Martin. These musicians bring Scott Smith’s The Sum of Life alive.

The Sum of Life album from Scott Smith begins with the instrumental title track of the release. The folk track “The Sum of Life” begins with a very soft acoustic guitar from Scott Smith that is quickly joined by violinist David LaFlamme who adds a gentle violin solo. The duo of Smith and LaFlamme are soon joined by lead guitarist Nina Gerber who adds the texture to the track. The trading off between guitarist Gerber and violinist LaFlamme create a gentle duet of sorts that helps to keep the track interesting for the short 3-minute playing time.

With the song “Eclipsing Moon,” The Sum of Life from Scott Smith picks up a lot of energy. Exchanging the folk feel of the previous track for a stronger Rock and Roll feel, Scott Smith and the rest of his musical ensemble add electric guitars, organ and a stronger bass part for a straight-out Rock and Roll track. The result is a rather unusual track that pairs up somewhat romantic lyrics about spending time together with a strong Rock approach in the music. Although it seems to be a slightly unusual combination, the track of “Eclipsing Moon” is strong and fun to listen to.

On “Blues Guitar Slinger,” Scott Smith creates the next chapter in the music book that already includes the likes of “Johnny B. Goode” from Chuck Berry and “Tupelo Mississippi Flash” from Jerry Reed. Like the previous two songs, “Blues Guitar Slinger” follows the exploits of a musician just making a living. Scott Smith’s song focuses on a slightly different instrument, a slightly different style of playing, yet the same way of storytelling about a legendary figure as he makes his rounds.

On the song “Payday,” Scott Smith takes the sound of his music back to the days of roots rock where people like Bill Hailey, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly were creating a new style that separated itself from the Country music of the time. “Payday” features that early Rock and Roll style that centers around the sound of a Honky Tonk piano. The Honky Tonk piano playing on “Payday” comes from Mitch Woods who really adds that classic sound that makes the track sound as genuine as anything that would have come from the days of the early 1950s.

While musically in the past, Scott Smith and the rest of the musicians create a track that brings back the sound and feel of classic Country music. The song “Bad Dreams” contains an easy pace and classic lyrical content that would easily fit in on Country radio back in the sixties. The violin from David LaFlamme helps to add that classic flavor to the track while Gailene Elliott’s vocals help to add a little bit of a duet feel to the song.

The feel of the music on Scott Smith’s new album changes yet again on the track “The Best Gift”. While the previous track contained an old-fashioned Country approach, Smith gives “The Best Gift” a definite Folk flavor to the music. The lyrics about the births of his two children add an emotional touch to the release. “The Best Gift” is one of the most beautiful moments on the release.

After spending a few tracks in the Folk/Country frame of mind, Scott Smith changes directions. For the track “Determination,” the music takes on more of a Rock and Roll feel. The track has a timeless feel to the music as it could fit in with almost any time period within the Rock and Roll era. The track has a strong refrain that makes the song feel just right for commercial radio play.

Along with “Determination,” the song of “The World is Strange” is also a track that features a strong Rock and Roll feel. The track begins with a sound and musical feel that will remind some of something from Eddie Cochran; most specifically, “Summertime Blues”. And while there is that Eddie Cochran influence, the track is equal parts electric guitar and piano so that it also feels like a combination of Cochran and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Throughout the eleven tracks that make up Bay Area singer/songwriter Scott Smith’s new release of The Sum of Life, the listener gets plenty of noteworthy moments to enjoy. The ever-changing styles of music contained within the album feels very much like an entire collection of music on one release. Smith and the rest of the musicians who brought the album to life have created a very strong debut that only hints at the talent of a talented singer-songwriter.

 

Singer-songwriter Scott Smith left Charleston, South Carolina because of a personal reason and moved to the Cleveland area. That same reason made Scott leave a few months ago after spending 3 years as a resident in the area. During the time he was here, Scott played at several of the area’s smaller venues where he would perfect songs he was writing. As a result of Smith expanding his songbook to include his own compositions, he ended up with enough songs to create an album. It is this group of songs that make up his new 2007 album, Quicksand Remedies.

Quicksand Remedies was recorded by Scott while he was in transition between leaving Cleveland and relocating back to Charleston. The album was produced by another local musician, Joe Rohan. Along with Rohan and co-producer Curt Leonard adding their musical touches to the release, it also features some of Cleveland’s best musicians backing Scott up. The inclusion of these talented individuals in the recording process of Scott Smith’s new album ended up making the release full-bodied and varied from track-to-track.

Because Scott Smith incorporates many different musical genres into his writing including jazz,  funk and even hip hop, Quicksand Remedies provides the listener with just a snapshot of what Scott’s sound is like. For instance, on tracks like “Parking Lot” and “Lively,” Scott lets out his reggae side and shows you what he was known for down in Charleston before he started writing his own music. Other songs like “Comin’ Round” and “G Funk” show Scott’s funky side.

Most of the songs on Quicksand Remedies are fleshed-out versions of stuff that Scott has been playing solo for years in the Cleveland area. However, there are songs like “Quicksand” and “Pocket” that show off Scott by allowing the listener to hear what those of us who followed Scott here in Cleveland have known for years: He is just as talented and entertaining when he is alone with just his guitar.

One of the best examples of what Scott sounds like live is displayed on his song, “The Flight”. “The Flight” is a Michael Hedges-inspired song that features Scott performing on his guitar: no band, no singing, just the guitar. While playing this song live, Scott would turn up the reverb on his sound board and let the reverb create a layering effect. Scott recreated this live sound in the studio. The resulting track reminds me of seeing Scott playing this song in concert.

One of the most interesting, and commercial radio-friendly songs on Quicksand Remedies is Scott’s song, “Amazed”. With this song, think Santana w/Rob Thomas-meets-Marc Cohn. The song starts with the listener joining in on a Santana-style jam that becomes a piano-driven ballad. Changing paces several times during the 4-plus minutes, the song fades out way too fast.

Scott Smith has created an album that you must hear that features music of many styles, from rock to reggae; from funk to jazz and everything in between. Each track on this CD has a very distinct sound and the resulting songs that make up this album definitely give a small but powerful indication of the talent of this musician. While it would absolutely require seeing this musician in concert to truly appreciate all he can do with his guitar, Scott Smith has created a release with the help of Joe Rohan and Curt Leonard that shows off just a small amount of his musical ability. Pick up a copy of Quicksand Remedies from Scott Smith and experience this talented musician for yourself.

For more information, go to Scott Smith’s website. Also check out his Facebook account.

Click HERE for a live performance of “The Flight” by Scott Smith