Texas is home to many well-known cultural jewels such as the Alamo, George Strait, and Whataburger. However, there’s another gem people need to experience: Shane Smith & The Saints live performances.
It’s popular opinion that most successful musicians don’t sound as refined and powerful in live performances versus their studio-doctored soundtracks. However, Shane Smith & The Saints are (dare I say?) even better in person than their recordings! Smith explains the reason for this is because they’re “not one of those bands that sticks with the black and white: we try stuff out and change it up as we go.” The Saints don’t really practice *gasp* but rely on their relationship to each other on stage to find what works well for a crowd.
Here’s a run-down of the top reasons why Shane Smith & The Saints are an experience worth knowing:
- Stage Presence: whether it’s Shane Smith on a solo acoustic set or the Saints marching into center stage, the band just knows how to keep the audience’s attention. I’ve seen a lot of artists take the stage and feel very two-dimensional. Usually by the third or fourth song people are doing bathroom/drink runs, texting, or talking to their friends. Yet somehow, the voices, the movements, and the setup of The Saints interest the audience in every moment of their set.
- The Harmonies: CAN WE JUST TAKE A SECOND to thank not only God, but Jesus, for this vocal blessing? (That’s a pop culture joke, friends.) I’d like to refer to Smith & The Saints as the Texas rendition of the Sistine Chapel Choir. They start off small with Smith leading the melody; then add a voice a few octaves different; then add the others with to create rich and layered harmonies. It’s a build up of beautiful sound, moving whoever is graced enough to experience it. There are honestly no words.
- The Connection: Every chord, every vocal addition is somehow directly connected to the audience. When the kick drum hits, your heart beat follows. When a venue full of raging listeners is suddenly dead silent, it’s overwhelming. How can a band get a massive crowd to follow their flow without actually giving orders? The music simply speaks for itself, and you are a direct part of how it’s happening.
“We’re trying not to be concerned about what the safe route is; there’s definitely a safe way of being a musician and a more risky way,” Smith told TMP. “We’re trying really hard to take all these aspects of every different kind of music we listen to, which is completely across the board, and incorporate those energies into our music.” You can definitely tell during their lives performances when the rock, folk, zydeco, and blues are incorporated.
Off stage, the Saints are more than a band in the least cliched way. They’ve helped each other through the highest successes and lowest failures in each member’s life and are able to speak freely to one another without the backlash of an unstable friendship. This brotherhood is apparent on stage when the music stops playing and the band begins their four-part harmonies. Their staple sound connects each member to each other on the stage while engulfing the crowd in a soothing tidal wave.
“A big turning point was adding a fourth harmony. I’ve always wanted to have a big harmony,” Smith said. “We found out by accident rehearsing in a garage that Chase, our bassist, is a baritone harmony. We didn’t know he could sing! He chimed in on a three part harmony, and we just stopped. Before you knew it, we had this potential to have a big four part section.” And with that, they’ve accomplished a strong and polished sound.
In other exciting news, The Saints are in the process of finishing up a new record that showcases their live performance sound. Under their new producer Mark Needham (who has worked with massive names like Imagine Dragons and The Killers), The Saints have been able to record songs with the vibrance and power of their live sound. Smith also suggests maybe releasing a live performance record of The Saints’ older songs in the future.
I’ll end with a FUN FACT: The “Geronimo” album is designed for listeners to hear it straight through from beginning to end. It starts with a four-part melody in “The Mountain” and ends in a four-part melody in “Geronimo” to tie the album and sound together. 🙂
Get to experience the magic with these upcoming (full band) Texas shows:
Feb. 16: Gilleys– Durant, OKFeb. 23: Billy Bob’s Texas– Fort Worth, TXFeb. 28: Main Street Crossing– Tomball, TXMar. 1: Hoot’s Pub– Amarillo, TXMar. 2: Blue Light Street Dance w/ Randy Rogers– Lubbock, TXMar. 3: Wild West Fest w/ Turnpike Troubadours– San Angelo, TXand many more!
Check out a Shane Smith acoustic show for TMP’s #TexasCountryTuesdays at the Tap on Feb. 27th. Feel free to discover some other strong Texas Country/Americana/Red Dirt artists on our TMP Spotify Playlist, too.