Singer-songwriter David G Smith is a major find. He hails from Iowa, but spends most of his time in Music City. If a man is judged by the company he keeps, this guy is an A-lister for casting the likes of Mary Gauthier, Kenny Malone, Verlon Thompson and Dan Dugmore on his Non-Fiction CD. He also wins this week’s DisCovery Award.
DAVID G SMITH/You’re The Reason God Made Tequila
Writer: Lori Shropshire/Deanna Walker/David G. Smith; Producer: Miles Wilkinson & Buddy Mondlock; Publisher: Shire/ZMG/Alrose, ASCAP/BMI; Hey Dave (track) (www.HeyDaveMusic.com)
—Gig alert: Mr. Smith is staging his CD release show tomorrow (Thursday, April 14) at The Bluebird Cafe at 6:00 p.m. It will feature several of his stellar supporting players from the disc, including Jonell Mosser, Jelly Roll Johnson and Buddy Mondlock. Jelly Roll is particularly prominent on this delightfully bluesy, funky, loose-limbed track. The album is called Non-Fiction, and there’s audio pleasure in every track. The vulnerable, hushed ballad “In This Cage” will stop your heart. “Her Body Won’t Lie” has steady, thumping rhythm to spare. “Fear (That Son of a Bitch)” is packed with wry vocal personality. Very highly recommended.
--Robert K. Oermann - Music Row/Nashville
David G Smith Releases Non-Fiction
David G Smith, the Eastern Iowa Americana singer/songwriter who spends more time in Nashville than he does at home, has released his new long-awaited CD, titled Non-Fiction. Perhaps best known in Nashville circles for writing “Mr. Ooh La La” for groundbreaking black country artist Rissi Palmer, Smith teamed up with such highly-regarded Nashville names as Dan Dugmore (Linda Ronstadt, Sugarland), Jelly Roll Johnson (Alison Krauss, Travis Tritt) and Guy Clark’s main man Verlon Thompson in recording Non-Fiction. Smith’s music has also been featured in national television productions, and he recently performed at the 2011 Folk Alliance in Memphis. Non-Fiction will see its official release party at the River Music Experience building in Davenport, Iowa in May.
--Rick Moore - Music View Online Blog (Feb 20, 2011)
Non-Fiction is a solid debut for the longtime songwriter – acoustic rock that’s sometimes funky and sometimes gentle, smartly produced and performed with conviction. Best of the bunch is the third track, “Fear,” a plainspoken love song about triumphing over nagging doubts. It’s sung by Smith with Mary Gauthier and written with economy, insight, humor, and grace: “Fear / That son of a bitch / Always talkin’ that negative shit / With a godless voice and a Judas lip / But you know what got me here.”
--Jeff Ignatius, Quad Cities Reader
A full house gathered to listen to the singer/songwriter in the intimate setting / Redstone Room Non-Fiction Release Show. David G. Smith has written 800 songs over 40 years' time. But it was only last year that he decided he wanted to record some of them himself. The Blue Grass, Iowa, resident -- who divides his time between the Quad-Cities and Nashville, Tenn. -- is putting on a free show Saturday night at the Redstone Room to celebrate the release of his 13-song first CD, "Non-Fiction."
"I never thought I had that much to offer with my voice," Mr. Smith said recently. "What rings my bell is writing the song."
An eastern-Iowa native, the veteran songwriter started penning music in high school and has been all over the U.S., working with artists and song pluggers to get them recorded by others. Mr. Smith'ssongs have been used on the Fox Network's "Saving Grace" and the Travel Channel's "Rissi Palmer's Country," and in 2008 he won first place in the International Songwriting Competition's country category with "Made for You," written with Jackie Kavan and Mike Willis.
A longtime member of Nashville Songwriters Association International, Mr. Smith often performs at the monthly Songwriters in the Round gathering at Mojo's Cafe in Davenport's River Music Experience.
It was a songwriting retreat in Costa Rica before New Year 2010 that changed his mind about recording his own stuff.Some of the most respected writers in the business were there -- Mary Gauthier (whose songs have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw, and Blake Shelton),Beth Nielsen Chapman (who co-wrote "This Kiss" for Faith Hill and has been recorded by Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood and Willie Nelson), andDarrell Scott (who toured with former Led Zeppelin leader Robert Plant).
"They independently cornered me," he recalled. "I was being reluctant about recording, and they said, 'Dave, you really need to record.'"
One night at the retreat, he wrote the song "Fear," and Ms. Nielsen Chapman liked it so much, she pitched it to Tim McGraw, he said.
Mr. Smith recorded "Non-Fiction" in Nashville over five months in 2010 and introduced it there last month.In a review, longtime Nashville-based Music Row magazine writer Robert K. Oermann glowed with praise, which floored Mr. Smith.
"David G. Smith is a major find," he wrote. "If a man is judged by the company he keeps, this guy is an A-lister for casting the likes of Mary Gauthier, Kenny Malone, Verlon Thompson and Dan Dugmore on his 'Non-Fiction' CD. He also wins this week's DisCovery Award."
Mr. Oermann said, "There's audio pleasure in every track. The vulnerable, hushed ballad 'In This Cage' will stop your heart. 'Her Body Won't Lie' has steady, thumping rhythm to spare. 'Fear (That Son of a Bitch)' is packed with wry vocal personality. Very highly recommended."
"This is a real honor," Mr. Smith said of the review. "We were hoping for a quote. He went above and beyond."
He describes his music as"a kind of swamp/folk style," according to his bio on heydavemusic.com. Mr. Smith's musical influences include jazz, blues, rock, and country, with a dose of Little Feat and Dr. John funk.
Anchored to all of this is "someone who seeks to write the truth and something real," he says online. "He and his music have never been about 'hey, look at me,' but rather looking to share with, and maybe even help, his listener."
Mr. Smith also likes to give back. He and his wife, artist Sharon Maroney, have been longtime donors toSt. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis andNebraska-based Boys Town, which serves at-risk youth.At last Saturday's show at The Grape Life in Davenport, Mr. Smith had a silent auction of artwork based on his songs to benefit those nonprofits. The pieces also will be displayed at the Redstone Room.
"I decided, we're doing pretty good. I'm at the point in my life where I wanted to do a give-back," Mr. Smith said. When he's touring, he also adds a local cause that part of his sales benefit, such as band equipment for a high school.
"That's kind of the cornerstone with what we're doing," he said.
Mr. Smith also will be one of many performers at the Bucktown Revue at 7 p.m. Friday in the RME's Performance Hall ($9 at the door).
The singer/songwriter enjoys doing informal concerts in individual homes as well. Mr. Smith will promote that on his website, including tips on how to host asuccessful house concert.
"People ask questions, wanting to talk about the songs," he said. "You take away the microphone and stage, the barrier comes down."
Part of the CD sales from Mr. Smith's Saturday show will help support expanding RME's Songwriters in the Round to give one-on-one feedback to young writers, he said.
Despite his success, he is looking for a brighter brass ring.
"A lot of people in Nashville would kill to have on my resume what I do as songwriter. I've accomplished everything -- I've got TV placements, recorded by indie artists," Mr. Smith noted. "The only thing left I'm still pursuing is a cut by a major artist."
--Jonathon Turner, Moline Dispatch
Quad City Times (May 18, 2011)
David G. Smith had won a battle he didn't even know he was fighting. This past winter, he went to a songwriters' retreat in Costa Rica to learn more about the craft from well-known composers such as Darrell Scott, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Mary Gauthier.
He also brought along all of the songs he had written. "They all told me, ‘What are you doing here at this retreat when you've got an 800-song catalog?' " he recalled. "I said, ‘I just play those for fun. I know they're not right for Nashville.' " But all three of them convinced him that they were right for Music City. "It was like a slap upside the head," Smith said.
Smith, who was raised in Cascade, Iowa, taught himself guitar and learned piano at the University of Iowa, but he had put those talents on the back burner too often, playing occasionally at clubs in Nashville when he lived there. Once he returned to Iowa, he got a job with the State Board of Medicine. It was only after he took a buyout last year that he renewed his interest in music.
"The songwriting's always been there, but now I'm back in the artist saddle," he said. "I'll see where that takes me."
Smith, who lives in Blue Grass, recorded the album in Nashville during the fall, backed by some of the best-known session players in town. "non-fiction" was released at a party there in April. The album gets its Quad-City debut Saturday at the Redstone Room in the River Music Experience in downtown Davenport.
The album got rave reviews from Robert K. Oermann of Music Row magazine, one of the most respected critics in Nashville. He called Smith a "major find. There's audio pleasure in every track," Oermann added.
A world sound was added thanks to a French accordion and an Australian didgeridoo. Smith said it was "funkified in places," with a "swampy" sound added at times. He compares his music with the likes of Bruce Springsteen's solo acoustic work, James Taylor, Amos Lee, Jackson Browne and Gauthier.
"I don't have a country song bone in my body," he said, "but I love Hank Williams. I'm drawn to great music." Portions of the album sales are going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Boys Town. Smith said he'll be content singing, playing and writing as long as he can. "This is a life sentence!"
--David Burke, QC Times
I haven't had a chance to let you know how much I've been enjoying your new CD. Excellent work, my friend, and you should be very proud. Backing musicians are par excellence, and your tunes resonate with passion and truth. Thanks so much for the CD, and I wish you the best with all your efforts in this new year!
--Ellis Kell - Musician and Writer for The Argus/The Leader/The Dispatch (Jan 5, 2011)
This Dave Smith CD really sucks! It really sucks me in and I can't stop listening! I would say that honesty, integrity and heartland poet are the key words for this project and Dave's style. Dave has a laid back folky R&B funky thang goin' on that was born in James Taylor's North Carolina swamps and raised in the true folk Americana tradition. Dave's writing is cut from heartland whole cloth and his voice sounds so rich yet unpretentious and down home real. We get a nice cross section of his domain here with real foot pounding dirt funk of HER BODY WON'T LIE to fresh plowed ballads like IN THIS CAGE, vulnerable and true to the heart. The percussion laid down by Kenny Malone really sets the tone by keeping it grounded and organic. There are no real drum kits, rather, heart beating soul colors that frame the canvas of Dave's wry attitude on life and love. The stories are deeply touching and the playing is superb, spot on. Great job all around. Gotta go. The CD's about to start again...
--Rick Beresford-- Pro Song Coach & writer of what Newsweek in 2009 dubbed as "one of the ten greatest true country songs" ever written: If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me recorded by George Jones.
Hey David......I finally got around to listening to the cd. Thank you brother for such a refreshing wonderful album. It's a real pleasure to be able to play with an artist like you. Keep playin' and singin' man. Your friend, Kenny Malone.
--Kenny Malone - Zen Master Percussionist
David G Smith Hopes ‘Non-Fiction’ Makes A Splash In Music Scene
Though there are worse places in which an artist can ride out a funk than Costa Rica, it didn’t change the fact that Cascade native David G Smith was feeling some disillusionment with the music industry. File sharing has crippled the music industry, making a career in songwriting, something already difficult to attain, close to impossible. “Business just isn’t as good as it used to be,” said Smith.
So, surrounded by his fellow singer/songwriters at an artists’ retreat in Costa Rica, Smith put paper to pen and then fingers to strings, the end result being Fear, a song of his frustration and uncertainty. When he played “Fear” in front of his peers at the conclusion of the conference, Smith said the reaction was overwhelming. Beth Nielson Chapman, an accomplished songwriter who composed Faith Hill’s “This Kiss,” announced she would pitch “Fear” to Tim McGraw if Smith would let her. Others encouraged him to return to the studio to record his song, along with his others. Mary Gauthier, a singer/songwriter who, according to Smith, “writes the most honest lyrics” a person will ever hear, volunteered to lend her voice to the album. “Talk about a compliment of the highest order,” Smith said.
Not one to ignore good advice from talented people, Smith returned to the studio and produced “Non-fiction,” a collection of songs written over decades. Each one, according to Smith, is based off of true-life experiences. The CD is available for download now from itunes and other digital music sites. Smith will host a release party for his CD in Davenport on May 21, at the nationally known Redstone Room from 6-10pm.
Though Smith sings his own songs on the record, he said it was far from a one-man show. Gauthier made good on her promise to lend her vocals to the album and Smith was mentored by a pair of producers that had previously worked with popular musicians like Bette Midler and Kris Kristofferson.
Smith found the experience to be so positive that he left his day job of over two decades and is focusing full time on his music career. Smith has been making annual treks to Nashville to try and sell his songs to other songwriters, a job with which he has had moderate success. But Smith now hopes to find success singing his own songs. “I’m not looking back now,” Smith said. “I’m going to go full-time. I’ll wear a couple of different hats. That of a singer and a songwriter.”
Though Nashville helped form “Non-Fiction,” Smith insists that it is not a country album. He describes his music as mixture of acoustic, blues and swamp. Some tracks are traditional guitar and voice ballads, whereas others incorporate various sounds from the wide spectrum of music. One track even features a didgeridoo. “It’s a little bit of everything,” Smith said of his music.
Smith is no stranger to success in the music industry. In 2008, his song, “Made for You,” won first place honors at the International Song Contest in the Country category. Smith’s music has been featured on various television programs over the years, including Fox’s “Saving Grace.” Major Indie Artist, Rissi Palmer, released another of Smith’s songs ‘Mr. Ooh La La” in 2007. The Bluebird Café, a popular venue for up and coming artists in Nashville, has hosted Smith on occasion.
Smith said the next step in his rekindled musical journey is to begin seeking “gigs” in the midwest. In addition to more traditional concert formats, Smith hopes to popularize a little-used form of public performance by focusing on in-home concerts. Rather than force people to attend bars or other venues featuring local music, Smith said he will go to a home and perform an intimate concert.
Part of the money earned from CD sales and performances will go to charities, including St. Jude’s Hospital. Smith said that he would like charitable work and his career to remain intertwined. “That’s a cornerstone of my career,” Smith said. “Whichever way it ends up going.”
--Ben Jacobson - Cascade Pioneer (Mar 9, 2011)
“Working with David Smith has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since moving to Nashville. His album, ‘Non-Fiction,’ is wonderfully produced and a much-needed release from the commercial candy that clogs our radios and record stores. If only more music could be non-fiction!"
--Mike Willis/Artist * ASCAP recipient of the prestigious Leon Bretler Award For Outstanding Songwriter/Performer
We loved having you! I am looking forward to putting your cd on our playlist this week, and have to tell you my family and I love the song "In Here".
--Annette/Owner - Cool Beanz
Artist: David G. Smith
CD Title: Non-Fiction
Release Date: 2011
Artist Website/Contact: HeyDaveMusic.com
Today’s Date: 2-23-2011
Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers
I feel very fortunate to have met David G. Smith on my recent trip to Folk Alliance in Memphis, Tennessee. A first impression of him is that he is probably the kind of person you would want as a friend, neighbor or family member. He seems very sincere, and kind. I was secretly hoping that I would like his music as much as I like him. He did not disappoint me. I also had the opportunity to hear him perform before listening to his 2011 release Non-Fiction. This album is highly listenable. It is well-produced with a variety of talent and instrumentation including an appearance by Mary Gauthier offering backing vocals on the cut Fear, courtesy of Lost Highway Records. David’s greatest strength is his songwriting, exploring a variety of subject matter, with thoughtful lyrics and very memorable material. Seeing him live, he evoked a swampy image, much like a softer version of James McMurtry. The album flows well, and is enjoyable start to finish. David can carry a tune, yet being a vocalist is not his strong suit. The guest vocalists offer needed harmonies, and on some tracks, David’s singing is incredibly heartfelt. A friend of his in the crowd mentioned a connection to having Tim McGraw perform the song Fear which I could imagine quite clearly. As long as we are pitching songs, lets offerDevil Didn’t Get Your Soul to Blake Shelton and Her Body Won’t Lie to James McMurtry.
Lyric excerpt, Devil Didn’t Get Your Soul
“We’re all created equal,
be the change you wanna see,
the only tired I’ve ever been is of givin’ in,
I have a dream, I have a dream,
Ghandi, Rosa, Martin, Abe,
you raised the bar so high,
God had to lift up Heaven,
a little further in the sky.”
Further proof that David G. Smith is a man you want in your corner: A portion of all proceeds from this record will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Boys Town.
--Giselle Force Reviews - Eclat de Femme
By his own admission, DAVID G SMITH is first and foremost, a songwriter. He’s spent many successful years in Nashville “plugging” his songs and has several cuts to his credit--defined as songs recorded by other artists. His songs have been used on Fox Network’s “Saving Grace” and the Travel Channel’s “Rissi Palmer’s Country”. In 2008 he took First Place honors in the International Song Contest, country category. He plays regularly at the world famous songwriter club, The Bluebird Café in Nashville.
In late 2009, SMITH attended a songwriter retreat held in Costa Rica. Long story short: he was strongly encouraged to record his own material by the likes of retreat instructors and industry heavies, Darrel Scott, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Mary Gauthier.
A few months later, with the help of friends and producers, Miles Wilkinson and Buddy Mondlock, SMITH finished up his first full-length album titled “Non-Fiction” at Bolton Farms Studio in Nashville. The album features a contribution of talent from a who’s who list of new faces artists--Melissa Greener, Mike Willis--to legendary artists---Kenny Malone, Bryn Davies, Jelly Roll Johnson, Verlon Thompson, Jonell Mosser, Suzi Ragdale, and Dan Dugmore; with special guest appearance by the incomparable Mary Gauthier.
Of the 13 songs on this project 10 were written solo by SMITH. He got an assist on 3 songs with Nashville long-time friends & writers, Jesse McRae, Lori Shropshire, Deanna Walker, and Barry Dean. SMITH says he is “thrilled” with how this project turned out. He further advises that in a town like Nashville outstanding songs are the norm and not the exception---and session players know the difference. “If a song is average they will simply and nicely thank you for the work and be on their way.” He recounts that during his Non-Fiction sessions, as legendary drummer/percussionist Kenny Malone was preparing to lay down tracks for the 7th song on this CD called “In Here” he was reading the lyric and commented over the isolation booth mic, “This is a great song”. Jonell Mosser lent her considerable singing talent to two songs “Her Body Won’t Lie” and “The Edge”. SMITH recounts that when she finished recording she gave him a hug and told him, “These are great songs”. Shortly after the record was pressed, he recounts observing a young lady reading the lyric to “In This Cage” who began crying and told him on the spot, “Dammit! You made me cry”. SMITH says this was before she even heard the song and that he took her reaction as a compliment of the highest order.
And then there are the kids. Printed on the CD jacket is a commitment to contribute a portion of sales to two long time favorite organizations of the artist and his wife: St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Boys Town.
--HeyDaveMusic - HDM Records