Local singer and songwriter Noah Smith performed on the final evening of this month’s Adams County Fair and was able to sit down to discuss his journey as a musician.
Smith describes his music as something that crosses genres and isn’t a cookie cutter version of either county or rock.
“My record musically walks a line between rock ‘n roll and country music,” Smith. “I call it American Music for fun. I”m a songwriter before everything else. Each and everyday changes and grows into something else. The music I am making changes right along with them.”
That cross-genre style was met with a sizable crowd at the Adams County Fairgrounds on July 18.
“The county fair was great,” Smith said. “The people there were a pleasure to work with and we hope to come back soon. The Chinese food booth was incredible too.”
Smith has been around music nearly his entire life, beginning to play the drums at a very young age but then gravitated towards the guitar around the age of 12.
“My first instrument was a drum set where I sat and played Santa Monica by Everclear over and over,” Smith said. “I always loved lyrics. I’d stay in my room until I had every word memorized to ever song I had.”
Smith said he began leaning towards guitar when he realized the wide range of sounds you can create with one.
“My best friend growing up had a 1970’s Telecaster that a family friend let them have,” Smith said. “I was obsessed with the sounds a guitar could make. I’d listen to songs I loved and try to make my guitar sound just like it.
Smith said he believes he still has a long way to go mastering the guitar, but enjoys the time spent trying to get there.
“It’s funny becasue I wasn’t very good at it,” Smith said laughingly. “I still don’t think I’m very good at it but I still love making noise with it.”
While Smith said he listened to many different kinds of music growing up, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon were being played “constantly” at his house as a child.
Before college, Smith joined a band called The Gambling District which he claims laid a foundation for what has become of his music career today.
“We were basically a hard working college rock band that were way too into girls and drank a little too much,” Smith said. “Being in that band gave me a great groud work to start my own artistic endeavors. I’ve been performing in dirty rock clubs working with shady characters since I was 16. You learn to navigate those eaters really fast or you wouldn’t be doing it anymore. The ones crazy enough to keep doing it are the ones that make a difference in music.”
From there, Smith attended the University of Cincinnati where he earned a bachelor’s degree through the College Conservatory of Music.
“I went to UC because I loved the electronic media program there and my generation was brought up being told you graduate and then you go to college and then you get a good job,” Smith said. “I loved it there and I’m proud of my degree. I joke all the time that college just taught me how to be in a band. I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons in life and music along the way. I think that time in my life was the time when my close family and friends realized I was going to be doing this the rest of my life.”
After college, Smith started his solo career which has landed him performing in some really interesting places besides the smokey dive bars before college.
“Lasy year I got to perform at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a small event inside the track,” Smith said. “After the show my band and I got to kiss the bricks. That was a huge musical moment for me. I also love performing at the Southgate House Revival too. It feels like home every time we are there.”
Smith said the favorite part of his job as a musician is engraining music within his life experiences.
“Music takes us on a journey,” Smith said. “I call them music moments. Different states, cool homeless dudes that share stories, old vets, sharing songs with each other in kitchens, alleys, van rides, etc. We don’t live life and do music. We live life and music is a part of it. I love the community of fans and friends and family that surounds the music we’ve been making.”
For more information about Noah Smith you can visit www.noahsmithmusic.com.
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391, firstname.lastname@example.org or @WUDefender on Twitter.