Smith/McKay All Day is a genre-defying two-man band from Missoula, MT. They may look and sometimes act the part, but they’re not your eccentric cousin and his buddy plunking away on instruments next to the shed while frying pork chops on the hot plate nestled between them. No, sir. These guys are bonafide.
Jimmy Smith (Vocals, bass & drums) made his bones co-fronting The Gourds, a whimsical Austin based Americana act. Logging hundreds of shows and hundreds of thousands of miles, The Gourds built an absolutely rabid underground following across the US and Europe. Their work earned the band a reputation as one of the funnest live acts on the planet, and helped to inspire a new wave of alt-country and twang bands.
While Jimmy was cutting his teeth in Austin, Pat McKay (Guitar & vocals) was cutting heads from Texas to Montana, where he’s become an institution in his own right. Over the past twenty odd years, Pat has been the very definition of a blues journeyman, playing countless sets and sharing the stage with some of the most well known acts in the business.
Once Jimmy moved to Missoula, these two were bound to collide. Which brings us to their debut album On the Smile Side, coming May 6th.
For those not already in the know, Smith is a bit of a mad musical genius, and SMAD’s debut drives this notion home. Jimmy knows his way around a pop song, but, like the aforementioned REAL Paul, there is no time for any straight forward head bobbing. These are rich, complex musical compositions that modulate and change direction just before the listener has a chance to get comfortable, only to be pulled back around and in with a well placed, yet indelicate hook. How did we get here from there? Fuck if I know, but giddy up.
Lyrically, these songs play out like fragmented moments spanning the lifetime of Generation X spun together into something sheerly nonsensical. Like any great artist, SMAD is neither too cool, nor proud to borrow and re-use. Listening to On the Smile Side is a bit like reliving the days when you surfed through all 36 channels of basic cable, 3-seconds-a-stop, before finally landing on The Breakfast Club or Point Break or 120 Minutes or some old sci-fi flick – except Jimmy’s holding the remote. He’s got that look in his eye and there ain’t no tellin’ how this nights gonna end. Ever seen Wonka?
There’s no doubt about it, SMAD is fun, and On the Smile Side is aptly named. Laugh all you want, but a deeper listen reveals an intellectual side that you wouldn’t likely presume of a junkyard duo. One can appreciate their strangeness and humor, but easily miss the clever word twists and vague allusions. These guys are wicked smart, but they don’t really care if you catch on or not. If you snooze, you lose, but if you get it, a nod is as good as a wink.
– Wm Lucian Johnson, March 2022
Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for the standout track “Back to School Savings.” Fans who are still mourning the demise of the Gourds will find Smith in fine form and his songwriting more vibrant than ever before. Comical visuals and some delightfully wonky guitar playing from McKay keep the vibes laid back and fun. The unexpected tempo changes, rowdy harmonies, and strangely vivid lyrics make this a wild folk-rock romp that sums up the chemistry between these two musicians.
Smith describes the inspiration behind the song in his own style:
“Back to School Savings is ‘Christmas song syndrome’ style. Find a hole in the calendar that might get a little airplay every time it rolls around. I noticed Alice Cooper’s royalty checks spike when summer break is coming down so I figured I’d bookend it. That alongside knowing my post Gourd life was gonna be a square one K through 12 beat down helped fill out the verses. On the smile side is what life coaches call a slow yes. Sleep study- you really need a c-pap machine. Me- F$%^ that noise! Fast forward 2 months. Yes, I feel so damn good now. I listened to it today on my kids fisher price record player.
And think its decent bantha dung fodder to throw on the Jawa pile. Beyond that me and my bandmate Pat Mc/Kay need to move some units And put some bums in seats laddies! Bums in seats!”