October 5, 2020 Smith & Myers – Smith & Myers Volume 1 and 2 (Album Review)
Gifting fans with a boat load of new music, Vocalist Brent Smith and Guitarist Zach Myers of Shinedown are bringing back their side project, Smith & Myers. In the midst of one of the most trying times in human history, Smith & Myers are releasing two new albums together through Atlantic Records, Smith & Myers Volume 1 on October 9, 2020 and Smith & Myers Volume 2 on October 23, 2020.
Trying something different, Smith & Myers first released a couple of cover EPs together back in 2014, Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 1, and Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 2. As six years have past since the release of these two aforementioned EPs, Smith & Myers wanted to dive deep into writing about various topics from personal challenges to social issues and some covers as well. To put it best, Smith stated: “We’ve spent a great deal of time and energy making sure this project is completely authentic. The main reason Smith & Myers exists has to do with the fans. A project that was born from multiple requests over the years has now evolved into its true identity. Make no mistake – it’s about the songs, it’s about the story, and above all it’s about the message.“
Produced by Dave Bassett (Shinedown, Weezer), both releases take on a mostly acoustic approach from Smith & Myers who put an emotional spin into their music. Starting off with Smith & Myers Volume 1, Smith & Myers offer both an equal amount of originals and covers. Kicking off the first installment, Smith & Myers penned the original track, “Not Mad Enough.” The duo wrote this song in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and if you listen closely the powerful track seems to be written from a couple of different perspectives. With a really nice piano opening and overall melody, the Smith & Myers original, “Coast To Coast,” stands out on this album. As far as covers, Smith & Myers put Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” into a state of simple, somber piano that shows a deeper side of the classic cut. In addition, a dark horse cover of the underrated INXS hit, “Never Tear Us Apart,” is a great choice by Smith & Myers along with a cover of Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.”
Next up is the other half, Smith & Myers Volume 2, offering up another portion of interesting covers alongside more Smith & Myers originals. Beginning with “Bad Love” and “Bad Guy,” Smith & Myers Volume 2 continues with an old time Blues/Folk tune called “New School Shiver.” Something for more Alternative Rock fans, this second set of tunes offers covers like Peter Gabriel’s “SledgeHammer,” where Smith & Myers perform what could be the first ever acoustic version of the highly eclectic hit single. Later, the Smith & Myers version of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” precedes the mysterious cover of REM’s “Losing My Religion” and the Oasis hit “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”
Taking a sidebar from their multiplatinum lives in Shinedown, Smith & Myers have put together two ten song collections that really seem to have something for everyone. Smith & Myers’ acoustic style fits the duo well and the guys do a great job keeping things simple while putting a lot of heart into the music. Overall, Shinedown fans would be remiss not to give this new music a chance and for these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Smith & Myers Volume 1 and Smith & Myers Volume 2 3 out of 5 stars.