ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON OCT. 16, 2020
By Steve Newton
The coronovirus pandemic is a global catastrophe that has led to massive death, economic ruin, and untold suffering.
But it hasn’t stopped Scott Smith from rocking out.
It did slow him down a bit, though, as he admits on the line from his home near Trout Lake.
“It’s been very different, obviously.” says the guitar specialist, who is also a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. “The first two months were especially frustrating ’cause we had all these fantastic gigs lined up for the spring and summer, so to have that just wiped clean was a tough thing to take. But then, it’s funny–if you’re a positive person you kind of find your groove, and you just start doing different things.
“So I’ve got my home studio set up, like fully professional. I always sorta had it so I would do demos here, but I got it set up so I can do anything, and started recording stuff for other people. We started doing some ‘basement live’ things, and then other gigs opened up–like Tractorgrease in Chilliwack, and some smaller gigs. Then just sideman stuff, playing with different bands. And I’m doing more teaching over Facetime.”
Smith also found time to make a third album with his blues-rock quartet Terminal Station, which sees him in the company of keyboardist Darryl Havers, bassist Jeremy Holmes, and drummer Liam MacDonald. Simply titled Brotherhood, the 12-track disc was recorded, mixed, mastered, and coproduced by Christopher Woudstra, who also fronts Rock and Roll Circus, another band rockaholic Smith plays in.
“He’s got just a great ear for sounds,” says Smith of Woudstra. “And also he’s comin’ from the same place as us, so he likes blues-rock kinda stuff. And he’s a big Stones fanatic, so he likes natural sounds. And with him being a singer, when it came time for me to focus on the vocal tracks, he was great for just pushing me and getting the best vocal take out of me.”
Brotherhood is loaded with killer blues- and soul-rock tunes, one highlight being the instrumental “Booker D”, which sees Havers going to town on the Hammond B-3 organ. You’d be right in guessing that the song is a tribute to B-3 ace Booker T. Jones, but wrong in thinking that it might be in the key of D.
“Actually that song is in C-minor,” points out Smith. “The D is in reference to Darryl. We call him Booker D sometimes.”
The tune features some wild rock ‘n’ roll sax playing from Dominic Conway, who is also a member of the local improv-jazz group Malleus Trio. Another guest is vocalist Colleen Rennison, who Smith has played duo gigs with and recorded for over the years. “She just one of the best voices I’ve ever heard,” he raves. “Just a natural. So soulful.”
When asked which song on Brotherhood might be his personal fave, Smith points to “One More Bottle”, a southern-tinged track that saw him trading Allman Brothers-style guitar licks with yet another guest, John Sponarski. So which Allman Brother was he thinking of while doing that?
“Actually it’s both,” he says with a chuckle. “Like the first half with the slide is Duane [Allman], and then the outro part is Dickey [Betts].”
With Brotherhood in the can, don’t expect Smith to slack off any time soon. The day after our chat he was set to fly out to Alberta to do drive-in gigs with country singer Aaron Pritchett, where people come and watch the gig in their cars.
“Music has to get played,” he reasons, “so we’re doing it however we can.”
To read over 100 of my interviews with local Vancouver musicians since 1983, go here.