This weekend marks the final shows of 2015’s downtown Live On the Green concert series, with three days of free performances from headliners including Ben Folds and Passion Pit and local up-and-comers such as All Them Witches, the Vespers, Turbo Fruits and Nashville transplants Smooth Hound Smith.
Set to hit the stage at 5 p.m. Friday to kick off the second night of the three-day closing weekend of the festival, Smooth Hound Smith consists of vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Zack Smith and Caitlin Doyle, who both made pilgrimages to Music City from Los Angeles just before starting the group. Smith, who primarily handles vocals, guitars, foot drums and banjo, made the move after falling in love with the city during a touring visit and decided a change of scenery was in order.
“We met in L.A., and we were both in different relationships and playing in different bands,” Smith said in an interview after their Bonnaroo performance earlier this summer. “There was lightning strike sort of moment, and I ended up moving to Tennessee. She came and visited and we played a little show together, and we just took it from there.”
Smith’s love for Nashville wasn’t the only feelings fostering around this time, however. Doyle and Smith soon became much more than just acquainted musicians.
“The band and the relationship pretty much happened at the same time,” Doyle said. “I knew that I had fallen in love with him when we went to a lesbian karaoke bar … and he got up and sang Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way,’ but translated it into Spanish.”
“Incorrectly, but the effect was there,” Smiths added with a laugh. “I knew to get her to like me, I had to pull out the big guns.”
The duo now calls East Nashville home and just wrapped up recording their second album, “Sweet Tennessee Honey,” which the band funded independently with donations from fans. The album primarily was recorded in Nashville’s Welcome to 1979 studio and features two vocal contributions from the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, who discovered the band’s debut in 2014 and urged fans to check out the duo in a tweet.
As the album’s title suggests, Tennessee’s musical roots have inspired them creatively and sonically.
“I think everything is just twangier now,” Smith said lightheartedly. “Even when I honk the horn in Nashville, it sounds twangier.”
Fortunately, Southern “twang” will be a welcome addition to the duo’s Delta blues and folk influences.
“Most music lovers, they like all sorts of genres, just like us,” Doyle said. “That’s what our sound sounds likes. There’s a little bit of blues, there’s a little bit of folk, there’s a little bit of country. It’s just music we like to listen to, and because of that, it’s music we like to play.”
Live On the Green continues on two stages Thursday-Saturday at Public Square Park (1 Public Squre). Music runs from 5:30-11 p.m. Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday and 1:30-11 pm Saturday. For a complete schedule, visit www.lineup.liveonthegreen.com.
For our full archive of Live on the Green coverage, click here.
To contact Lifestyles editor Rhiannon Gilbert email firstname.lastname@example.org.