By Brooke Magalis
Brian Smith: Chef, soon-to-be cop, wildly talented indie musician. The mixture is interesting, but if it produces that brilliant music of Brian’s, who are we to question it? Time between bottling wine, brewing beer, cooking gourmet meals, and attending the police academy is dedicated to music and family for Smith. The singer/songwriter is a Pennsylvania native. His battleground consists of wineries, restaurants, churches, and coffee shops, but instead of slaying people, he has the ability to lull an audience into a state of awe and self-reflection, the arguably better of the two.
Stylistically similar to Damien Rice, Smith takes heartfelt lyrics, places them over a melodic acoustic guitar part, and ties it all up with palpable emotion. The final product is stunning and has the ability to make a coffee-shop-goer glad she needed that extra bit of caffeine to get through the day. It’s no shock when patrons linger to hear Smith finish up a set, and it’s definitely not out of the ordinary to catch him talking to his audience members, waiters, waitresses, baristas, or chefs between sets or even songs. The man is personable and well liked.
Almost two years ago, I had the opportunity to catch a few of Smith’s shows when he meandered into, and, shortly thereafter, out of my hometown. When I go home to visit, patrons of the restaurant where I was employed at the time still ask when he is coming back to play again. His music clearly left an impression on the small Virginia town, and this is just a single example.
A few days ago, I got to catch up with Brian via Skype. I interviewed him for Black on the Canvas and even got a quick performance of his original, “Childhood,” out of him. In the interview we talk about everything from what his life would be in a perfect world to what it’s like to be a chef/musician. You can find a smattering of Smith’s covers on his SoundCloud (link) page and three originals posted on his website (link).
The entirety of the conversation can be heard here: