Monday, December 3, 2007

Grammy award winning Dirty Vegas leader Steve Smith reveals debut solo album, This Town, guest appearances by John Savage and X-ecutioner Rob Swift.

Steve Smith, the former front man for the Grammy-award winning group Dirty Vegas moved to Boston in 2005 in search of a new beginning. Feeding off the musical inspiration of Boston, he began creating his first solo album, This Town. The project really started coming together when he joined forces with Anthony Saffery of Cornershop, who agreed to produce his songs. Together they booked the legendary Camp Street Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts (formerly called Fort Apache) and got to work.

On this album, Smith collaborates with an assortment of talents, including producer Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The X-ecutioners), Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), Terry Barber (New York Symphony Orchestra), Jay Ungar (principal violinist for the James Horner OrchestraTitanic, Legends of The Fall), and Rob Swift (Ill Insanity, The X-ecutioners, Quincy Jones). The result is a delightful fusion of sounds that blends folk, rock, electronica, and Steve’s inherent songwriting ability. View the album trailer HERE and check out the album’s lead track “Hit Me Up” (MP3).

This Town draws the listener in from the start with an inspiring dialogue by acclaimed actor John Savage (The Deer Hunter, Hair), which sets the stage for the main theme of the record. The message: “Life is a rollercoaster, but through our setbacks, we’re fortunate enough to inevitably end up exactly where we want to be.”
Or “Sometimes, being a genius is just getting up in the morning.”

Two bonus tracks are also included – a previously unreleased, acoustic version of the Grammy Award winning Dirty Vegas track “Days Go By”, and a new song called “Late Nights and Street Fights”, which was chosen to be the main title theme for the FOX TV hit series, Standoff. This Town is set for release on Smith’s own label, G.A.S. Records (named for his late father, George Albert Smith) on February 18, 2008.

This Town Track Listing:
View Album Trailer HERE
Release Date: February 18, 2008

01. This Town
02. Hit Me Up (MP3)
03. Restless
04. Universe
05. Morning Jane
06. Smile
07. Comedown Queen
08. Sleep Like A Lover
09. Better Off That Way
10. That Town
11. Bonus Track: Late Nights & Street Fights (Theme from the Fox-TV show Stand Off)
12. Bonus Track: Days Go By (Steve Osbourne Acoustic Mix)

More about Steve Smith and Dirty Vegas:
14-year-old Steve Smith was waiting for his piano teacher to arrive when he spotted the school drums and jumped on the kit. He was lost in the moment when the door burst open and the horrified teacher asked, “wouldn’t you prefer to sign up for drum lessons instead?!” Cue a cheeky grin!

Born into a South London working class home in the early 70’s, Steve was the youngest of five. He grew up with his ear pressed to his elder siblings’ doors where he gleaned everything from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd. As his teenage devotion to percussion grew, so did his passion for Latin musicians, specifically Santana and Tito Puente.

In 1988, acid house exploded in the UK and Steve found himself swept up in a wild new era of electronic music. He began to experiment with sampling the classic tracks he loved his whole life. A well-known house DJ, Andy Nichols, started a band that aimed to blend house music with live musicians. Steve instantly had the perfect introduction to playing live shows in front of huge crowds.

In the late 80s, rabid dance fans flocked to the illegal South-East England rave scene despite frequent raids by police and scaremongering stories in the papers about the supposed “drug culture.” But that did not concern Steve, who devoted every weekend to playing with Andy Nichols’ band or as a live percussionist at house clubs. He began to receive invitations to recording sessions and playing on club tracks. He became increasingly fascinated with the world of samplers and 909 kick drums. Still, while completely immersed in electronic music, he always held tightly to his childhood love for the Bruce Springsteen songs that had come from his sisters’ bedroom, and the sweet tones of Stevie Nicks that had blared from his brothers’ old stereo.

Steve steadily built a reputation as an excellent Latin percussionist and held residencies at legendary clubs, including Ministry of Sound. He toured alongside DJ’s like Sasha and Paul Oakenfold, and was ultimately offered a residency at the world famous ‘Pacha’ on the clubbing mecca island of Ibiza.

It was the summer of 1999. Steve had just split with his long-term girlfriend. With nothing to lose he packed up and drove from London to Ibiza with everything he owned. Days were spent with an acoustic guitar on stunning beaches, and nights in the infamous ‘Manumission’ and ‘Space’ clubs. He played alongside the top DJ’s in the world - studying how certain tracks caused reactions in crowds unlike those at any rock concerts he’d ever attended.

Inspired by the island of Ibiza as creative artists David Bowie, Mike Oldfield, Mario Testino and Errol Flynn before him, Steve spent the summer composing songs. As 1999 drew to a close, Steve headed into the studio for a session with Paul Harris, a DJ friend, who had been playing around the London ‘Milk Bar’ scene since 1990. Paul had just started working with a young producer named Ben Harris (no relation). While they were recording, Steve picked up an acoustic guitar and played them a song he called, “Days go by.” Paul and Ben loved it, and started to play around with the tempo. They recorded the song, called themselves Dirty Vegas and pressed 1500 vinyl copies. The track spread like wildfire through clubland - suddenly Steve had an Ibiza dance anthem.

Steve, Paul and Ben found themselves swept up in a rock and roll dream world of major label signings and world tours. “Days Go By” climbed the charts, and was licensed to a television commercial for Mitsubishi, ultimately garnering the band three Grammy nominations, and the award for best electronic song, in 2003.

Throughout his years with Dirty Vegas, Steve continued to write songs on his acoustic guitar. He knew that one day he would record his own album. Personal, sweet and intimate, some of those songs finally make an appearance in the track-listing of his first solo effort, This Town.

Dirty Vegas disbanded and Steve reunited with his girlfriend. He felt it was time for a radical change. Boston always had a magnetic energy for him when he played there and he felt a need to encourage that feeling. A move to the USA in 2006 got his creativity flowing and just like Ibiza a few years before, Steve started to soak up the musical heritage of his surroundings.

Semi-biographical songs, such as “This Town,” are about his move from London, while “Smile” (dedicated to Steve’s late father) came to him in a dream. In an amazing coincidence, Steve saw violinist Jay Ungar play at a local church in the small town where he had recently taken residence. After the performance he asked Jay, who has appeared on many famous movie scores, if he would play on the song. He told Jay it would be an honor since his father’s favorite piece was James Horner’s score for the film Legends of The Fall, on which Jay had played violin.
Another coincidence brought him together with Anthony Saffery, the former sitar player from the UK band Cornershop, who had also relocated to the Boston area and had become a producer. Together they booked time in the legendary studio, Camp Street (formerly known as Fort Apache) and began long and intense recording sessions: the outcome of which are the tracks that are Steve’s first solo effort, meaningfully titled This Town.

On his album, Smith collaborates with an assortment of talents, including producer Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The X-ecutioners), Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), Terry Barber (New York Symphony Orchestra), Jay Ungar (James Horner Orchestra), and Rob Swift (The X-ecutioners, Quincy Jones).

Steve can still be found spinning electro house sets at clubs around the country and around the world, but these days he might be just as likely to be strumming a guitar in a coffee shop, or playing percussion on a rock stage, in support of his new solo path. This Town is set for release on Smith’s own label, G.A.S. Records (named for his late father, George Albert Smith) on February 18, 2008.

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