Misner & Smith
~ MISNER & SMITH ~
[My-zner and Smith]
Original • Acoustic • Americana
"Misner & Smith are a gem of a musical pairing, offering a refreshing take on contemporary folk music. Their lovely harmonies and perfectly blended voices fit within classic American tradition, and their songwriting and storytelling transport the listener to a world of their creation. That is the hallmark of any folk singer worth his or her salt, but Misner & Smith have a truly unique quality in the chemistry of their duets that set them apart from the field. Perhaps it’s a shared appreciation and connection to the musical history of their Bay Area home, or maybe it’s simply fate that brought these two artists together, but whatever the impetus for their musical journey we are unquestionably all the better for it.
Misner & Smith’s thoughtful songwriting harkens back to the glory days of folk songwriters like Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, even Crosby, Stills and Nash. With a timeless San Francisco sound and poetic songwriting, they are a duo that blend roots and folk at the cutting edge of contemporary acoustic music. Capable on their instruments, and even more so with their vocals, Misner & Smith are an act not to be missed in an intimate live setting."
-- Gabriel Marowitz Hearth Music
Misner & Smith began their musical collaboration after working together as actors on a production of the musical Woody Guthrie’s American Song and immediately recognized a mutual love of Americana music, particularly focused on vocal harmonies. Since then, the two have been touring regularly and have built a steady and loyal following. They have performed on the main stages at both the San Francisco and El Cerrito Folk Festivals, and recently headlined at Berkeley’s famed acoustic venue, the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.
In a recent review of the duo’s second album Poor Player, Paul Liberatore of the Marin Independent Journal called Sam “one of the most promising songwriters I’ve heard in quite some time.” Hicks With Sticks Magazine described Misner & Smith as “a Bay Area treasure to be shared…with a touch for taking simple ideas and infusing them with unexpected meaning, metaphor and imagery.”
Balancing their careers as actors and musicians is no easy task, but the two have found the art of storytelling to be one of the common threads running through both forms. Characters of various types inhabit their songs. Some are fictional, some are autobiographical, and some are even historical, as in the tune “Triangle Factory Fire”. Based on the true story of the infamous fire at the Triangle Waistcoat Factory in New York City in 1911, the song combines researched facts and invention to retell the tragic story from a first-person perspective.
Crafting original songs rich in meaning and texture, the duo’s sound is centered around unique vocal harmonies and evocative lyrics, and in 2007, “Madeline (Paradise Cracked)” won the West Coast Songwriters Association’s Song of the Year competition. The title track of their most recent release “Poor Player” (2008) was nominated in the New Folk category in one of the world’s largest international song contests put on by the Just Plain Folks music organization. It is the combination of strong songwriting and vocal delivery that drove RARwriter.com to declare “this is truly inspired vocalizing, this is ‘shivers up the spine’ singing!