Today marks the return of Bryan Elijah Smith to Aux Send, this time in a proper episode in the red room. You may remember last October, in Episode 015, I taped Bryan and his band performing in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Jefferson Theatre for Floyd Fest Under the Radar. It was a great experience to get to film an episode in such a great venue with Bryan performing on top of his game. Unfortunately, if you’ve seen the episode you’re already aware that it was unfortunately plagued with audio that was not up to the standard of this show or of Bryan’s music. The reasons behind it are unfortunate, but at the end of the day the responsibility was on the show to do Bryan’s music justice. And today, I believe we have achieved that. Bryan was happy to come to the studio where I was able to record what is one of the best sounding episodes to date.
Bryan plays shows constantly, and his performance is a clear reflection of that. The band is tight, the compositions feel complete and have some of the most infectious hooks you’ll hear on this show. Bryan’s songwriting rides a line of tasteful musicianship and pop sensibility, blending traditional folk and bluegrass motifs with modern, rock influenced melodies and song structures. This episode showcases a range of styles, from the mid-tempo Desalie to the slowed down ballad tempo of Heartbreak to his popular uptempo song Pour On Me. In each one the blend of instruments in the arrangement is spot on, as they trade off being the focus from guitar to banjo to fiddle. After watching the episode I find myself going back to the choruses and banjo licks, as I’m sure you will as well.
To try and make this interview cover different territory than his last, I asked Bryan and the band about their model for touring and growth. They discuss the organic approach to gigging constantly in a slowly expanding radius from Staunton, which most of the band calls home. Bryan has been an active and vocal part of the movement to grow Staunton’s music scene, petitioning against a noise ordinance that would put an end to many of the venues that he and the other fine artists of the valley have the pleasure of performing in. I hope you enjoy listening to the music in the episode as much as I do, Bryan was prepared and contributed a vocal mic and third camera for shooting, making this show even more fun than usual. Keep up with Bryan at bryanelijahsmith.com and at the band’s Facebook page.