The Record Company / Smooth Hound Smith at Union Transfer
The Record Company arrived right when they were needed most, their raw and righteous rock ‘n’ roll ideal for a world that desperately needs to scream and shout. The Los Angeles-based trio – Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals) and Marc Cazorla (drums, piano, vocals) – unleashed its Concord Records debut album, Give It Back to You, on February 12, 2016 and has been nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album. “Off The Ground,” the album’s first single, proved a sensation, spe…nding two consecutive weeks as the #1 track at Triple A radio outlets nationwide – topping new songs from such superstars as The Lumineers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Avett Brothers. Their single “Rita Mae Young” is the album’s second consecutive Triple A smash which has recently cracked into the Top Ten.
The Record Company’s popular success was matched with enthusiastic critical acclaim. “Caught halfway between the stomp of mid-century rock & roll and the soulful kick of Delta blues, The Record Company kick up a raw, rootsy racket,” raved Rolling Stone. “The scuzzy, 10-track set meshes the group’s biggest influences,” wrote Entertainment Weekly of Give It Back to You, “the early electric blues rock n’ roll of John Lee Hooker, staccato lyrical delivery akin to The Stooges frontman Iggy Pop, and Rolling Stones-style grooves.”
The band formed in LA after a late night of hanging out as friends listening to records on their bass player Alex’s back porch with drinks in hand and speakers in the window. The spinning of a crackling vinyl copy of John Lee Hooker’s album “Hooker N’ Heat” at about 2am – coupled with singer Chris Vos’s stories of a trip to see Iggy & The Stooges at The Palladium in LA – inspired the three to get together the next day and jam together. That following afternoon they decided to hang some mic’s up in Alex’s living room and start recording.
“We listened to the playback that first day of recording,” Vos says, “and decided right then and there that we had to be a band.”
Give It Back to You is powerful and authentic, its electric fusion of classic influences, personal songwriting, and contemporary energy feels designed to break hearts and shake the dance floor. Both intimate and intense, songs like “Off The Ground” and “Rita Mae Young” are marked by The Record Company’s ambidextrous instrumentation, built upon guitar, bass, and drums but also deftly incorporating harmonica, dobro slide, lap slide, pedal steel, piano, and anything else that might serve the music. The album was written, recorded, and mixed by the band in the same living room in Los Angeles that they formed in and did their first recordings, retaining the raw and untouched sound they strive to make.
“When recording we trust early takes, love soulful mistakes, and record much of the song together live so we can keep the vibe of the recording feeling natural and still mix it with an aim to make the speakers move” says Vos.
Long known for their incendiary live sets, the band has toured nearly non-stop in the months following the release of Give It Back to You. They proved favorites at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, prompting Rolling Stone Country to name the trio’s set among the event’s “5 Best Country and Americana Moments” while declaring it “a wildly energetic show and one of the most communal experiences of the festival.”
They embarked on their first ever headline tour in the fall of 2016, selling out 32 out of the 41 shows they played – including the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, the El Rey Theater in LA, World Café Live in Philadelphia, Turner Hall in Milwaukee, and Antone’s in Austin amongst others.
What’s more, The Record Company have rocked the airwaves with a series of high profile TV appearances, including CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert and TBS’ Conan, not to mention countless radio sessions and live concert broadcasts on SiriusXM, NPR’s World Café Live, and Chicago, IL’s WXRT.
The Record Company has also found themselves supporting and playing alongside a series of national and international tours and shows with a diverse group of legends and like-minded artists they admire including Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Dawes, BB King, Kurt Vile, Mavis Staples, Social Distortion, and Blackberry Smoke.
“It’s about making the right choices for the songs,” says Vos, “keeping things as engaging as possible without compromising the integrity of the song. Everything we do comes from our desire to write the best songs we can and make the most honest music that we can.”
“I always think of any performance as one less time, not one more time.” says Vos, “Nobody can say how many shows you get to play in your life. So we try to play our guts out, leave it all on the table, and have fun doing it”.
Smooth Hound Smith is a foot stompin’ American roots duo comprised of “one-man-band” Zack Smith (guitars/vocals/foot drums/harmonicas/banjo) and Caitlin Doyle (vocals/percussion). Established in 2012, and currently based in East Nashville, TN, they record and perform a varied and unique style of folky, garage-infused rhythm & blues. Using primal foot percussion, complex, fuzzed-out, finger-picked guitar patterns, warbled harmonicas, tasty harmonies and A LOT of tambourine, they are able to create something rugged and visceral- a modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll music that harkens back to the traditions of hazy front porch folk songs as well as raucous back-alley juke joints.
The duo has traveled over 80,000 road miles, playing over 500 shows in over 30 states in the last two-and-a-half years. They’ve shared the stage with artists such as Justin Townes Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Nikki Bluhm & The Gramblers, The David Mayfield Parade, Matthew Perryman Jones, Charlie Parr, Possessed By Paul James, Shawn Mullins, and more. Their self-titled debut album received “top adds” on Americana Radio in early 2014, as well as garnered attention from media outlets such as Nashville’s independent radio, WRLT Lightning 100, and publications like American Songwriter and RELIX Magazine. In addition, the music of Smooth Hound Smith has been featured on MTV’s The Real World as well as the Esquire Network.
Most recently they were named as a finalist in the 2015 Durango Boots Sole Performer Contest. They were also selected over thousands of other bands to perform at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, headlined by Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, and more.
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