Friday, April 10, 2009

Roll 'em: It's the Great Picture Show

By Meredith Deliso

(Published in the 4.16.09 issue of 24/Seven)

When she strolls around Williamsburg with her Border Collie mix, April Smith jokes that more people know her dog than they know her.

“She’s really cute,” says the musician. “I’ll be walking her and people will say, ‘Hi, Scout!’ and I’m like, ‘How do you know my dog?’”

Smith won’t be staying under the radar for long. After songs in the TV shows like “The Hills” and “Newport Harbor” and a string of successful shows at South by Southwest, Smith is poised to have even more exposure this year with her band, The Great Picture Show.

On April 17, you can catch the tiny songstress when she plays Park Slope’s Southpaw with PT Walkley, a match made up by their managers.

“I thing they thought we’d be a good fit, which I definitely agree with,” says Smith. “PT has that sunny, upbeat vibe, and that’s what we have. I think it’s going to be a really great match. I don’t want to be playing before a band called Kitten Vomit or something.”

Smith and her own band’s sound falls into the retro pop vein, composing compulsively listenable songs, like the jaunty single “Colors,” which won a 2008 Independent Music Award for best song and blogger Perez Hilton described as “the kind of tune you’d hear on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or in the next iPod commercial.”

It doesn’t hurt that Smith’s playful powerhouse of a voice is backed by some of industry’s most sought-after musicians, with the “players” including Stevens on bass, Elliot Jacobson (who also plays with Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers and Jenny Owen Youngs) on drums, Marty O’Kane on guitar, and Brandon Lowry on keys.

“I really love the guys that I play with now,” says Smith. “They’re incredible musicians, very intuitive. They know exactly what I want on a song.”

She has also worked with producers Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne) and Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Owen Youngs) in developing her sound.

When they play Southpaw, the band will pull from material off their debut release, 2005’s “Live from the Penthouse,” and last year’s EP “Live from the Penthouse,” as well as some newer material that Smith has been working on, cooped up in her Williamsburg apartment.

“I’m kind of a loner,” says Smith. “Lately I’ve been just trying to write and keep being creative. A lot of the time when that happens, I’ll just stay in at night and really just try and work on stuff that I’ve had in my head.”

When not in a music mindset, Smith has her focus on living a sustainable, environmentally friendly life. Though it’s not one an aspect that makes it into her music, Smith’s van, Mr. Belvedere, rivals Scout in popularity. The band’s famous tour bus, Mr. Belvedere runs on vegetable oil, and they have taken him to Chicago, and meant to get to Austin for SXSW though mechanical issues got in the way.

“I’m pretty sure my bus is possessed and it’s just hell bent on sabotaging every trip that I have,” jokes Smith. “It might be time to convert a different vehicle to run on vegetable oil. It’s not going to stop us.”

In addition to the van, Smith likes to also recycle clothes, taking a bottom of a dress, say, and turning it into a skirt, instead of buying new outfits. She looks to incorporate sustainable methods into her own merchandise.

Musically, Smith’s exposure continues this year, as beyond the Brooklyn show, you can next hear her tunes in the Rob Schneider film “Wild Cherry,” as she has two singles, “The Bells” and “High School Memory,” in that film, set for release later this year. The singer couldn’t be more excited about the chance to get her music out to a wider audience.

“I really hope it comes out soon,” says Smith. “I can’t wait to see it.”

You can see April Smith & The Great Picture Show when they Southpaw (125 Fifth Ave.) on April 17 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance at The show is 18+.


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP