‘Skeletons,Skeletons, Skeletons’, the new offering from Melbourne’s Damon Smith is mostly a piano centric, New Orleans style blues/jazz record – not without the usual hallmarks of this genre – but also liberally flambéed with tonnes of top-quality MSG (Movers, Shakers and Groovers). The album, is out today June 17, through The Night Sky Is A Jewellery Store Records.
Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Damon pre-release to discuss the making of ‘Skeletons, Skeletons, Skeletons’
Horns twist around the whisky marinated vocals, while the upright bass, drums and piano lock in tight with just enough room to sound sporadic and groovy, and allow moments of country and even soul to sashay right in. This record compliments Smith’s last, piano-less album Golden Dappled Thoughts, Momentarily but stylistically speaking, is the antithesis of that 2020 release.
Drawing inspiration from the wry lyricism heard from Aldous Harding and Bill Callahan, the inimitable groove of Dr John, the sincerity of Nina Simone and the musical splendour of bands like Wilco, Smith creates intriguing tiny worlds within these new songs. The predominant theme running through the album is of self-worth and the part we play in our personal relationships with not only people – but also our pets, strangers and even the odd inanimate object.
Smith’s performances on this record are punctuated with expert musicianship and his razor sharp wit, creating a hugely dynamic sonic presence. His virtuosic piano style and ‘whiskey as’ voice is complemented by guest performances from the likes of Wilbur Wilde, Barney McAll, the horns from Melbourne’s Sugarfoot Ramblers, Nashville session musician Ross Sermons, local legends David Cosma, Ben Wicks, Ben Franz, Adrian Whyte, Sabrina McKenzie, Richard Giles and Harry O’Mara, with the bulk of the rhythm section performed by Smiths’ touring band members Adam Coad and Trent McKenzie.
Skeletons is out now and available on Bandcamp and all other major digital platforms.
The album launch will be on Wednesday June 29 at Melbourne’s Jazz Lab – with a Covid safe buffet of super special guests. Enthusiastic invitations to drag your own skeletons out of your closets and join the throng are warmly extended!