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Celebrated local musician releases second record

By Jason Herring, March 5 2015 — 

When Samantha Savage Smith released her debut album Tough Cookie in early 2011, the Calgary musician received a flurry of praise for her earnest songwriting and bluesy voice. The record was so well received, that the then 23-year-old singer found herself at the top of a number of 2011 best-of lists, including in Fast Forward and the Calgary Herald.

It’s surprising then that Smith has taken this long to release her sophomore effort.

“Being an independent musician, the delay was mainly financial. It costs a lot to record,” Smith says, mentioning that work on her second album began after her first album, with the songs being recorded in 2013 and mixed in 2014.

Smith sounds pleased when she talks about her newest album, Fine Lines, and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be. The record, released Jan. 27, finds Smith crafting more irresistible folk-pop earworms. While the album isn’t a jarring departure from its predecessor, it shows growth in Smith’s abilities as a songwriter and artist.

Smith credits the maturation of her sound to the time that has passed in between her two albums.

“I knew and expected that this record would sound different from [the last] because I’m quite a bit older and inevitably as we grow older, things change,” she says.

Modest about her work, Smith is the first to say she didn’t craft Fine Lines alone. She gives credit to the band’s drummer, Chris Dadge, who has a songwriting credit on Fine Lines.

Members of other Calgary music staples also lent their talents to the album, including Lab Coast’s Henry Hsieh and Viet Cong’s Scott Munro.

“That’s the thing with Calgary musicians. It’s all in the family,” Smith laughs. “It’s a small pool, so you get to work with a lot of your friends.”

Smith has a recording studio in the basement of her home, which she says was used to develop the album and create demos before recording in a studio.

With the help of friends — who helped save money by not having to hire session musicians — and the basement studio, Smith was able to make the album on a low budget, while still ending up with a polished final product.

Now that Fine Lines has been released, Smith is spending the next few months touring in support of the record, highlighted by sets at Austin’s SXSW.

“I did it all by my own means and that’s not the most romantic story, but it’s the truth,” Smith says.

Samantha Savage Smith will play the Nite Owl on March 5 with Diamond Mind and Sleepkit. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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