Misner & Smith – Headwaters

National Release Date: Oct. 3rd, 2017

Misner & Smith Misner & Smith

Folk-rock/Americana duo Misner & Smith’s initial artistic collaboration was kindled when both met as actors at a Shakespeare festival in California, and set a flight a couple years later when both were cast in Woody Guthrie’s American Song.  Here Sam and Megan discovered a mutual love of roots music, and in particular, harmony singing. With four albums of original material, and numerous theater performances behind them, the duo make their home on stage both as professional actors and as musicians.

With their fifth album, Bay area duo Misner & Smith have compiled a collection of songs from some of the songwriters and bands who have and continue to influence and inspire their musical journey. Stripping their sound back down to where it began, this selection of songs was recorded live in the studio and features the duo doing what they do best: creating an incredibly textured and rich sound, full of tight arrangements that cut to the quick of each song's heart, and the lush vocal harmonies that have become their trademark. 

As Megan and Sam relate, “At the heart of every actors job is to interpret someone else's words, trying to get to the heart of what it is the playwright is expressing, whatever that particular truth may be. Similarly, a great role, like a great song, has built into it stepping stones to get to the core of the character, or the emotion of the tune.  For us, approaching covers is about capturing the essence of the song in our own way. We didn't feel any need or desire to drastically change the songs, or do any sort of radical departure from the original versions. If anything "our stamp" was performing the songs in the most emotionally truthful way we could. We wanted to stay true to the originals because it was the originals that first inspired us, after all.”

Throughout the album, the central focus is the duos stunning harmonies and vocal blend, emphasizing the emotional underpinnings, lyrical songwriting, and poetic language that lie within each song. “America,” and “Return of the Grievous Angel,” two timeless duets made famous by Simon and Garfunkel, and Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris respectively, stay true to their roots, while also receiving a fresh infusion of musical alchemy. Megan takes the lead on Patty Griffith’s painterly portrait of a woman’s thoughts and reflections on her own life on “Making Pies,” while Sam ushers in “City of Dreams,” a brilliant acoustic rendition of one of the rock band Talking Heads slower tempo songs. The ease, warmth, and comfort in Megan and Sam’s delivery is palpable, on “It Make No Difference” by The Band, a well honed staple in Megan and Sam’s set since the duo’s inception.

By focusing on the work of other songwriters, and revisiting some of their influences, Megan & Sam found that it filled their wells back up, reinvigorating their songwriting with a cache of new originals that will find them in the studio before too long. As Megan & Sam write in the liner notes, “Every river has it’s source, fed by countless streams along its way. These songs are just a few of the streams that have inspired our music, and continue to shape us as we roll down the canyon…” 

Home Website: Misner & Smith
Soundcloud: Headwaters
Facebook: Misner & Smith on Facebook