At the end of December, Isaac Smith played an acoustic set at The Roasting Room in Bluffton, South Carolina. Smith’s clean, pop-y, pitch-perfect vocals immediately got my attention — his knack for songwriting commanded my ear. Heartfelt without being too precious, Smith’s songs are fresh without pretense and draw from a range of influences. Part folk, contemporary country, and modern rock woven into a colorful sonic tapestry, he’s familiar, yet unique. Accessible. Authentic.
At the end of that show, Smith invited me to a triple bill at The Jinx with his band, plus The High Divers and Pony League.
Smith and Co. opened, and like before, his vocals rang true as a bell, but this time soaring above the added kick of a really tight band. I had listened to his online recordings, which were fine but nothing compared to the magic he and the ensemble now harness and bring on after four years of steady gigging. At points in their set, I heard a little Kings of Leon, some Tom Petty swagger, a bit bro-country—a powerful mix of Americana-alt-rock-country-folk.
The nexus are Smith, guitarist Evan Stewart, and drummer Robert Saunders, at this show joined by bassist Eric Dunn and keys player Phillip Price. Smith, Stewart, and Saunders met in Savannah roughly six years ago and soon after committed seriously to the music. “All three of us had instant chemistry,” recalls Smith, “and this December marks two years playing originals with the boys.”
Isaac Smith and his band are set to tour the east coast from Georgia to New York beginning March 2017 with no Savannah shows until after their return. 2017 is Isaac Smith’s year—to take his band, his sound, and soul to new places. Check out Smith’s website for shows and tour updates.