Friday, March 26, 2010

Misner & Smith are 'featured artists' in the online magazine, The Alternate Root

Check out this review of our first album, Halfway Home in the online music magazine, The Alternate Root. We are featured as 'artists of the week'.
"Woody Guthrie has left America and Americans an astounding legacy. He spent his years giving hope to the hopeless and fanning the flames of social action with a voice, a belief and a guitar. On a personal level, what brought Woody joy was the music. Americana and Folk were in his heart and in his songs.

San Francisco Bay Area folk duo Sam Misner and Megan Smith share a lot with Woody and owe him thanks for a chance meeting. The two acted together in a production of Woody Guthrie’s ‘American Song’. While performing they realized that beyond sharing a stage, the pair also shared a love of the music that the marquee’s namesake brought to the world. Like Woody, Megan and Sam are travelers, with guitars and voices. They are festival and coffee house mainstays throughout the West and Southwest.

Their most recent effort, ‘Halfway Home’, showcases songwriting that pays homage to the folk tradition while adding their own fresh take on the genre. Sam and Megan’s lyrics are as clear and piercing as their harmonies. The chiming of guitars and voices is mesmerizing and infectious, like the laughter described in the title track as two characters enter into a budding romance. The rhythms continues on the songs that move feet and mind (“Fall Away”, “Henry and Lil”, “In Life With Love”) and slow the pace for a more quiet reflection (“Keep in Time”, “Shadow of Embraces”, “Madeline”). Driven by the tasty blend of voices, the music rides along atop bluegrass, folk and Americana sound waves. ‘Halfway Home’ is a powerful testament to tradition, story telling and doing what you love."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hello friends! We are so busy playing music these days that we hardly have any time to post all our news, but there is a lot going on for Misner & Smith these days so here's a quick update of all the latest!

Our monthly show schedule has been keeping us our toes and March is no exception. This weekend alone we play shows in Novato, Seaside, Davis, & a special House Concert at Stinson Beach. The full details are all available on our website Misner & Smith as usual but some highlights of the March calendar are this weekend Friday March 19th 8:00pm at The Alternative Cafe in Seaside and Sunday, March 21st 4:00pm at Drew Pearce's Stinson Beach Music Party . Then on Saturday, March 27th we play in Berkeley at Caren Armstrong's Celebrating Songwriters sharing the bill with Austin Willacy. In April we'll be playing a few shows in the Bay Area before taking a long hiatus while we go back on the road for a while. Our last show in San Francisco until at least July will take place at The Climate Theatre on Wednesday, April 7th 7:00pm. KC Turner has put together a great bill for the Climate, first up The Skinny, then The Courtney Janes, and then we finish out the night with a set of our original tunes!
On April 22nd we embark on our Northwest Tour of 2010. With stops in McKinleyville, Ashland, Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Port Townsend we are really excited to share our music with a whole new audience. Needless to say, if you have friends or family in any of these cities please spread the word!
As soon as we get back home we begin rehearsals for the Marin Theatre Company's production of Woody Guthrie's American Song. If you haven't seen this show it is an experience you won't want to miss and we're not just saying that because we're a part of it. It is a very compelling show with beautifully crafted language and gorgeous five-part harmonies. This production is one you'll want to share with people you love, so bring your loved ones and be there for an experience you'll never forget.
After the show closes we'll have a couple weeks off before we jump back in the ol' Subaru for our Southwest Tour of 2010. We had a wonderful time last fall when we toured out to Austin, TX and back and this time we've got more shows and more cities than before. Some of the new venues we'll be hitting along the way include, The Bugle Boy in La Grange, TX, Angel's Serenity in Scottsdale, AZ, Fiddler's Dream in Phoenix, AZ, and The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, CA.
Well that's most of the news, thanks for reading and hope to see you all out at a show soon!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another glowing review! Paul Liberatore of the Marin Independent Journal calls Poor Player "outstanding".

"Sonoma County singer-songwriters Sam Misner and Megan Smith began performing together as a duo after discovering their mutual affection for folk music when they were both actors in a production of Woody Guthrie's American Song.
Incidentally, six years later, they've been cast in the Marin Theatre Company's presentation of the musical celebration of Guthrie. It opens May 27 in Mill Valley.
Misner, who flatpicks an acoustic guitar and sings in a firm, pleasant tenor, is one of the most promising songwriters I've heard in quite some time. He works in an intelligent, witty style that reminds me of a less acerbic Loudon Wainwright III.
His song “Compose,” its melody graced by lovely and surprising chord changes, deservedly won best song at two recent regional competitions of West Coast Songwriters.
Charming lyrics like “verses, sonnets and prose/And she knows it's all just ribbons and bows/Some rhymes are harder and sometimes it shows I suppose” are reminiscent of the young Paul Simon.
And there's something unmistakably Dylanesque in the talking blues of the title track, nominated last year in the “New Folk” category by the international music organization Just Plain Folks.
With Misner's acoustic guitar strumming and Smith playing stand-up bass and adding texture with mandolin and guitar, the duo creates a comfortably resonant neo-folk sound highlighted by sweet but strong two-part harmonies.
Smith adds a trio of fine songs to the 10 on this outstanding CD — the melodic ballad “Wanderin' Fool,” the old school folk tune “Polly” and the softly evocative “Rainday.”
"Poor Player" is about a neophyte performer nervously waiting in the wings.
After recently headlining at Freight & Salvage, the prestigious acoustic showcase in Berkeley, these two have moved up in class from that lowly status. Their next album could very well be called "Star Power." "

By Paul Liberatore for the Marin Independent Journal

Published 2/26/10