INTERVIEW: Scott Smith
Hi Scott, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I have been staying busy, writing, recording and working with more great musicians.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Down to Memphis”?
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Not necessarily. I came up with the progression and quickly found that I wanted to write something about Memphis, since it played such a big role in Rock music. I’m really intrigued with the story that the radio station WDIA, which was playing country music (like Hank Williams) and decided to change to Afro- American Music. And Rock was born! The 1st rock album was Ike Turner. That amazes me. There have been many songs about going down to Memphis, so there’s something special about it.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes! My team is just beginning to put together the story board and do some filming. The target date for release is spring.
Why naming the record after this track in particular?
I think it’s the strongest song. It just seemed right. Also, when we recorded it, I felt nostalgic and wonder how Elvis felt when He recorded some of his hits. Did he know they were going to be hits? I just got goosebumps when this song was being put together.
How was the recording and writing process?
I guess I answered some of this in the last question. Ooops! There was some collaboration with Jeff Martin, who plays bass and owns the studio. He’s A music major and came up with instrumental, B part of the song. It was cool to have other input. Also, there’s a big gap between recording a song, the editing, to the final product. The shaping and creative process is one of my favorite parts. You just don’t know how it will turn out.
What was it like to work with Dave Grisman and how did that relationship develop?
Wow, that was something I’ll never forget. David was first introduced to the Studio by playing on our local Luthier and musician John Knudsen’s album. He works on many famous folks instruments and had worked with David for years. David like recording at Studio E and decided to do his album there. It was released this year and it’s his first in 10 years! I helped David move his studio as a good neighbor, which he really appreciated. It was a thrill for me, Stephane Grappelli and Vassar Clements recorded there. Oh, and Jerry Garcia! He had just finished playing with Willie Nelson on a tour. Jeff Martin wanted to have him play on my album and one night, spur of the moment, after he finished his day at the studio, He told Jeff to give me a call and he will lay down a track right now. It was strange to direct one of the best mandolin players in the world! But he was very generous in giving all that I needed.
How much did he get to influence the album?
He didn’t influence the album, but certainly made the song that he is on pretty special. It’s a song I wrote about the Grateful Dead called Skeleton and Roses. Having played on American Beauty, really made the song a gem!
How has Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan have influence you as an artist?
Well a few of my songs have a Stones feel, or I used them as a model. I don’t think I have aspired to writing like Dylan. That would be hard. A reviewer said that I reminded them of Jagger and Dylan in my singing style. That was a great compliment, that caught me by surprise. But if you crossed the two, I think it’s fair. J
What role did Memphis play on this record?
I think not directly, but in general, there’s a homage.
Any plans to hit the road?
Not yet. Still recording. I’m getting ready to play locally though.
What else is happening next in Scott Smith’s world?
This EP is part of a CD to be released next year. I just finished putting a high-powered horn section on some tracks. The trombone player just finished a short run with Jimmy Vaughn. The sax guy, played with Levon Helm. The trumpet Player is in the Duke Ellington orchestra.
I also have a 3rd album written.
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