|Also known as||Rett Smith|
|Genres||Americana, Rock, Singer-Songwriter|
|Instrument(s)||Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Slide Guitar|
|Labels||Imperial Records, Universal Music Group|
Sporting career edit
Smith competed internationally in alpine skiing in the 2000s, participating in International Ski Federation races beginning in 2003 and competing in the Nor-Am Cup in 2006 and 2007. However, he was forced to retire from skiing after sustaining multiple injuries.
Musical career edit
After his retirement from skiing Smith moved to Los Angeles and began focusing on songwriting, releasing a demo EP which drew attention. Despite never having performed in public before, he made his debut at the House of Blues performing his own works. A video of him performing his song "Warmest Winter" brought him to the attention of producer Joe Nicolo, who became his "career guru". Smith's first solo EP, Tularosa, produced by Nicolo, was released in 2015.
Smith moved to Nashville in 2015, where he recorded his second solo EP, Oscuro, which he produced himself. He formed a duo called SAENTS with session drummer Daniel Sousa, and they released an eponymous EP produced by Stephen Keech in 2017.
His first solo studio album, Giving Up on Quitting, was released in 2020, but received limited attending due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He moved back to Austin, Texas, in late 2020 and recorded his second album, What the Walls Cannot See, during the COVID-19 lockdowns. He released EP Americana Drugs in 2022.
Musical style edit
Smith describes his musical style: "my heart lays musically with the blues and country heroes from the 40s, 50s and 60s but I've never wanted to imitate their sound... I'm into hiding some darker lyrics in with a heavy groove". His influences also include Leonard Cohen.
Smith's musical oeuvre blends multiple genres. His early recordings were described as "blues-riffed", contrasting with the rock sound of SAENTS. More recent works have focused more on lyrical quality, with "intense and dark vocals". American Songwriter described Smith's music as "blues-influenced alternative rock".
An article in the New Jersey Stage said of Tularosa: "Rett plays emotionally articulate guitar, tempering technique to fit a song's soulful spirit, uncorking his fiery chops in key moments". Writing for the Texas Monthly, Bryan Rolli called Oscuro "four barn-burning rockers featuring slide guitar licks that would make Billy Gibbons crack a smile".
Billboard described SAENTS as ranging from an "apocalyptic, organ-driven crawl" ("Lay Me Down") to a "furious, proto-punk wallop" ("Hallelujah and Do-Si-Do"). Jonathan Frahm in No Depression wrote that "There isn't a minute out of the few that we have that feels wasted... Rather, this is self-contained rock with just enough grit to make it roll". Pennylynn Webb of the Palestine Herald-Press, in reviewing Giving Up on Quitting, was "struck hard by a poetic sound that conjured a kaleidoscope of inspirational, soul-searching questions and profound truths". Katherine Yeske Taylor of American Songwriter felt "Better Day" "shows Rett's gentler, more vulnerable side... [and] has a certain confessional intimacy".
Doug Freeman of the Austin Chronicle described What the Walls Cannot See as "dark and brooding platter that sounds like Nick Cave raised on Texas songwriters". Hal Horowitz in Holler concluded that "Only the frustratingly brief length of the program ... prevents this from showcasing the full powers of a relatively new talent; one who has his finger on the pulse of the darkest edge of Americana and his own psyche".
- Tularosa (2015), Sony RED
- Oscuro (2016), Sony RED
- SAENTS (with SAENTS, 2017), Sony RED
- Giving Up on Quitting (2020), Imperial Records / Republic Records
- Live...Alone (2020), Imperial Records / Republic Records
- What the Walls Cannot See (2021), Imperial Records / Republic Records
- Americana Drugs (2022), Imperial Records / Republic Records
- A Nightly Consequence (2023), Imperial Records / Republic Records
See also edit
- "Rett Smith". Joe Nicolo. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
- "Rett SMITH". FIS. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
- Pennylynn Webb (April 10, 2020). "Stars of Texas: Rett Smith digs deep". Palestine Herald-Press.
- "Rett Smith releases Tularosa". New Jersey Stage. August 12, 2015.
- Katherine Yeske Taylor. "Rett Smith shows gentle side on 'Better Day'". American Songwriter. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
- Bryan Rolli (November 9, 2017). "Nashville Blues-Rock Duo SAENTS Shed Their Blood on Self-Titled Debut EP: Exclusive Premiere". Billboard.
- Bryan Rolli (July 29, 2018). "Music Premiere: On New EP 'Oscuro,' Rett Smith Stays True to His West Texas Roots". Texas Monthly.
- Scott Sterling (May 19, 2020). "Premiere: Rett Smith bites back with 'Rattlesnakes'". Flood Magazine.
- Doug Freeman (October 22, 2021). "Watch this: Rett Smith drops a 'Nickel in My Well'". Austin Chronicle.
- Doug Freeman (April 22, 2022). "Review: Rett Smith, Americana Drugs". Austin Chronicle.
- Cory Kennedy. "Song premiere: Rett Smith 'One to Blame'". Nylon. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
- "Texas Rocker Rett Smith Shares The Thrilling Stories Behind His New EP". Elmore Magazine. October 2, 2015.
- Jonathan Frahm (June 7, 2018). "SAENTS: Self-titled EP". No Depression.
- Hal Horowitz (October 25, 2021). "Rett Smith: What the Walls Cannot See". Holler.