After the Harvest Nominated for 3 Awards!

I am honored to have “After the Harvest” be nominated for 3 different awards. The first two are from One World Music Radio in the UK — one is for “Acoustic Guitar Album of the Year” and the other is for “Track of the Year” for the song “As the Crow Flies”. The winners will be announced on June 3rd.

The third nomination is from Zone Music Reporter for “Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year”. They announce the winners at their awards show on May 12th in New Orleans. I plan on being there to hang out and meet in person a lot of the musicians that I only know online. Plus, I’d be there to accept the award if it happens that way! 🙂

After the Harvest Rises to #2 in the UK!

The latest charts have been released and I was stunned to find out that After the Harvest rose to the #2 spot on the OWMR Top 100 chart in the UK. Wow. Then 2 days later the ZMR chart was announced and the album had risen to #13 in the US.

I am thrilled to have such success with my first release with Heart Dance Records and I’m now trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of all the exposure the album is getting. Touring? Spotify playlists? I’ll keep you posted on what I wind up doing.

After the Harvest is on the Charts!

In its first month in release, After the Harvest has made the charts in both the US and in the UK! In the US the ZMR chart has it at number #17 and in the UK the OWMR chart has it at #34. Hopefully, it will go up rather than down in its second month.

I’m so glad that this recording is finally getting some ears to listen to it. My thanks go out to Heart Dance Records and RS Promotions!

U.K. Radio Interview with One World Music Radio

I did an interview on One World Music Radio out of the U.K.
They also did a “Making Of” show about how I recorded After the Harvest and wrote a great review of the album as well. They originally broadcast the shows late the other night but they archive their broadcasts.
If you go to this link, you will find the two shows plus the review:
http://oneworldmusic.co.uk/michael-kent-smith/4594119906

Even if you don’t have the time to listen to all of both radio shows, do read the review – the writer really understood what I was going for on the album.

Airplay Playlists

I’ve been receiving the reports of radio airplay from Heart Dance and it has been fun to read them for several reasons.

One, it is great to see the album getting played everywhere from Australia to all across the USA to England and Holland.

Two, it is interesting to see what songs the hosts chose to play on the air. There is really no consensus and nearly all of the songs have been played one one station or another. If I count, the winner by a few plays is “Sing, Mother Earth”, which is not one I would have predicted. But, hey, sometimes artists are the worst judges of their own work, right?

The third reason is seeing who I am being played alongside and I will expand on that in a couple of future posts.

After the Harvest Is Released!

After the Harvest is now officially released on Heart Dance Records! It is available at Amazon for download or physical purchase.
https://www.amazon.com/After-Harvest-Michael-…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

After the Harvest is also available on Spotify!
If you could, please follow me on Spotify as that helps to direct other people to my music. Also, if you make playlists please consider adding some of my songs to one of your playlists.

I am now a Heart Dance Recordings artist!

 

I have some exciting news!
I was signed recently by Heart Dance Records, a label based in the Phoenix, AZ area.
They will be re-releasing my first album “After the Harvest” in October of this year and then will follow up in Spring 2018 with my new album “The King of Cordoba”.

I am very excited to be working with them. They will give my albums international exposure and a radio presence that I have never had before. Plus, the other artists on the label are very cool musicians and I look forward to playing and possibly recording with them in the future.
I will keep you all posted as things progress!

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Interesting Experience with YouTube Comments

Any of you who have watched videos on YouTube (which must be just about everyone by now) have probably read some of the comments posted below the videos. A small minority of those comments are useful or even astute but most are just plain dumb. I usually don’t bother to get into the fray of the comment stream but one time I did and it has had some interesting consequences.

Jason Pettit and I were preparing a version of Chick Corea’s tune “Spain” for an upcoming set of concerts, so I was watching a video of John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and Paco de Lucia performing the song to see if I could adapt any of their arrangement ideas for our trumpet/guitar duo version.

Website Redesign… at last!

I redesigned my website for the first time in several years. Not only was the look getting a little dated but the content need to be updated to reflect several new musical projects as well as my new teaching studio in Westchester, IL. I had done work on several other people’s web sites and I was starting to feel a little like the proverbial cobbler whose kids have no shoes. So, it was about time for an overhaul. Please browse around the new site and let me know what you think and I’d definitely appreciate any feedback on now I can make the site as good and useful as possible.

New projects and upcoming gigs

It has been a long time since I’ve posted; I hope this one finds you doing well. Now that I am settled here in Guanajuato I have been able to get some new projects going in both music and art. First, I’ll list the upcoming shows I have in November and then below you can read more about each of the new projects. I hope that I’ll be able to see you at one of these shows:

  • Saturday, November 10th 8:00 pm – Opening of the art exhibit of my prints and drawings at Galeria 6 in Mineral de Pozos, GTO Mexico
  • Sunday, November 11th 7:00 – 9:00 pm – The reunited Pong Unit at the Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway, Chicago IL) in the Uptown Poetry Slam. Carter Luke piano, Steve Hashimoto bass, Heath Chappell drums.
  • Thursday, November 15th, 7:00 – 10:00 pm – Midnight Blue duo with Steve Hashimoto at Adelles (535 W. Liberty Dr. Wheaton, Illinois 60187)
  • Friday, November 16th, 8:00 – 11:00 pm – Midnight Blue trio at Flight 112 (112 Park Ave., Elmhurst, IL)

The New Projects:

Dos Elementos – A new classical chamber duo with trumpeter Jason Pettit. Jason is a wonderful musician and has a lot of experience in both the classical and jazz worlds. We are taking advantage of the fact that we both improvise and we’ve assembled a touring program for 2013 titled “Sueños de España” that involves music from both the classical and jazz realms. The centerpiece of our new program is an arrangement of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Arranjuez” that is modeled partly on Rodrigo’s original for guitar and orchestra and partly on the Miles Davis/Gil Evans version for trumpet and jazz orchestra from their album “Sketches of Spain”. We will be announcing upcoming concerts soon.

Duo Valken – A duet with Early Music specialist Armando López Valdivia. Armando is a multi-instrumentalist and has a collection of over 250 replica instruments from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In Duo Valken Armando plays several instrument form his collection such as viola de gamba, alto viol, hurdy hurdy, recorder and percussion. I play the classical guitar, dulcimer and vihuela. We have a new album called “Camino a Sildor” (The Road to Sildor) coming out in December that was funded by the University of Guanajuato We will begin touring to promote the album in 2013.

Solo shows – Of course, I’m still performing and composing music to be played in solo shows. I am working with a combination of solo guitar, a looping device and sample based works.

I have two new jazz related groups in the Chicago area:
Midnight Blue –  This group plays a blend of jazz, blues and Latin music. The name of the group was inspired by the title of Kenny Burrell’s 1964 album “Midnight Blue”. The style of the group is a blend of the sound of the Blue Note record label in the early 1960s with the sounds of Memphis, New Orleans and Latin America. It is a trio with Steve Hashimoto on bass and Heath Chappell on drums. We have two shows in November in Chicago.

One Big Soul –  A project that I co-lead with bassist Steve Arens that performs improvised music inspired by Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and Ornette Coleman. It is a four piece group with Steve Arens on bass, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Tim Daisy on drums and me on guitar. We have recorded a CD called “Shining Cities” that will be out sometime early next year.

I was asked to participate in an exhibit of drawings and prints in the gallery “Galeria 6” in the nearby town of Mineral de Pozos. Mineral de Pozos was a literal ghost town of mining ruins until artists began to move in during the late 1980s. It is now a budding artist community with several galleries in town. The exhibit starts November 10th and will have ten of my pieces in it.

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