Friday, March 18, 2005

Anthony Smith, Saturday May 14th, 7:00 pm

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The minute he picks up his guitar and launches into a hardcore honky tonker like "Impossible To Do," there is no question to which side of the musical spectrum Anthony Smith falls. The singer/songwriter has spent years etching out his own little niche of cool, wedged somewhere firmly between the classic sounds of retro country, the funk of R&B, the raw edge of rock, and the smooth grooves of the blues, and he serves it up in spades on his forthcoming decidedly country Mercury Nashville debut.

Those thinking they've heard Anthony's name are probably right. . .he's the writing talent behind recent hits like George Strait's "Run," Trace Adkins' "I'm Tryin'," Montgomery Gentry's "Didn't I," and several other cuts by major artists. His debut is steeped with the kind of material that has had stars lining up to cut his tunes. Now ready to step out on his own, he offers up a distinctive new voice for the country Millennium -- to a genre in dire need of some fresh, new stylists. From the first few slow, moaning strains of "Who Invented The Wheel," which kicks off the record, there is no doubt the boy is bona fide.

Music has been an important element in Anthony's life from the time he was old enough to pick up a guitar. He remembers staring in awe at his father's baby blue Fender as if it were the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, and was plunking out tunes of his own at 6 or 7. As his love for music grew, so did his curiosity, and soon he was discovering the music of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, Vern Gosdin, Keith Whitley and, on the other side, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney and Michael McDonald.

Moving to Kentucky in his early 20s, Anthony became part of a house band called Sneaky Pete at the Soundstage club, honing his performing skills and whetting his appetite for bigger and better things. After playing in his own band for a few more years, he made the move to Nashville, something he had always envisioned doing. "I always used to tell people during those early years -- 'I won't be here long, I'm going to Nashville,'" he recalls. "It was just something I always knew I eventually had to do."

Upon moving to Music City, Anthony began meeting fellow writers and making contacts and was soon invited to play at a writers night at the Broken Spoke, which turned into an extended gig. He began to garner interest from publishers in town and was soon turning the heads of labels as well. When Mercury Nashville head Luke Lewis heard one of his demos, he immediately offered the writer a home.

Anthony quickly went to work with longtime friend and musical protégé Bobby Terry on his debut. "Bobby produced the album. He was key to this whole thing. I wasn't intimidated by him. . .he's my best friend, so I could tell him whatever I wanted. We're musical soulmates. He's the first person I ever met who understood me and could translate the music in my thoughts to tape. He's amazingly talented -- he plays every instrument on the record and stayed true to my vision."

That vision is crystal clear on songs like Anthony's debut single, "If That Ain't Country," a funky, quirky, swampy romp full of slappin' backbeats and grooving guitars that takes listeners on a tour through the backwoods and bayous where its hillbilly heartbreaker runs free. "I wrote that with Jeffrey Steele," recalls Anthony. "We wanted to write something with that kind of weird approach, sort of a hillbilly version of the Beatles 'Come Together' in a way, a little 'Deliverance-y,' kind of twisted hillbilly thing."

Another cut, the gentle, flowing "Up To The Depth," is a unique song Anthony says he could almost see a band like Aerosmith do. He loved the intensity of rock acts like Aerosmith and AC/DC growing up and seeks that energy in his own music as well. "Who Invented The Wheel" addresses the opposite extreme, with its narrator slowly and methodically winding his way through the path to who's responsible for his unbearable heartache, desperate to find someone to take the rap. And "Hell Of A Question" showcases every inch of ache and desire in Smith's gravelly, voice.

As Anthony prepares to take that next leap himself and share his music with the rest of the world, he is thrilled to have the chance to deliver his unique lyrical messages in his own voice, each one wrapped in its own distinctive, sonic package. For him, it always has been and always will be about the music. "Every time I write I try to reach for something that hasn't been done before," says Smith. "I try to reach for a new way of saying something every time. . . truly want to create something unique."


Song Title - Artist

Cowboys Like Us - George Strait
Run - George Strait

Chrome - Trace Adkins
I’m Tryin’ - Trace Adkins
Metropolis - Trace Adkins
Kill Myself - Tim McGraw
Kristofferson - Tim McGraw
Think I Will - Faith Hill
Without You - Lonestar
Carrying On - Montgomery Gentry
Didn’t I - Montgomery Gentry

Did Just Fine - Montgomery Gentry
The Fine Line - Montgomery Gentry

My Worst Fear - Rascal Flatts
Who Invented The Wheel - Trisha Yearwood
When I’m Gone - Josh Gracin

Metropolis - Sammy Kershaw
Stitches - Sammy Kershaw
What Brothers Do - Confederate Railroad
Still One Outlaw - Confederate Railroad


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