The new album, “In The Kitchen” by Jonah Smith and Andy Stack started with a simple idea: to make an acoustic record with no outside help from engineers or producers. In October they started setting up microphones in the kitchen of Andy’s apartment in Queens, NY. A simple concept turned into two days of the musicians running wires, taping microphones to ceilings, tacking blankets over windows and generally trying to get things to sound like a record before the first note was played.
Finally, after everything was set up, the two musicians sat facing each other in the warm sounding kitchen and started making music. What was meant to be an EP grew to an eight-song record with six previously unrecorded tracks and two acoustic versions of tunes that were on the just released, Little Known Cure.
The album opener, One Last Little Thing is bluegrass tinged, country folk song with Andy doubling on guitar and banjo and layered harmonies that would fit in on a CSN&Y record. The track also features the acoustic bass playing of Ben Rubin who has appeared on every Smith recording – he plays on this track and The Fix Is In.
Following that is the introspective slow burner, Still On Fire, which is a duet with Melissa Ahern of She & The Sun. The song is reminiscent of the Swell Season with an earnestness that is not overpowering but packs an emotional punch.
Other songs include the folk blues, Pioneer Woman as well as the protest song The Fix Is In which Smith wrote while making the video for Live One — the opening track of Little Known Cure which reappears here as a folk tune. The beautiful ballad, Easy Prey is the only song on the record that Smith plays Rhodes electric piano on – a trademark of his other records. The mellow groove of Big Umbrella is a simple love song written for Smith’s wife. And the album is rounded out with an acoustic version of Blues On Sideways.
The record was made a few months before Smith relocated to Los Angeles. The session fell to the back burner for several months during this time until finally, Smith pulled up the tracks and began going through the takes. After several months away from the project he was exited about what he heard, enough to want them to sound as good as possible. He decided to bring in Adam Munoz to mix the tracks at Fantasy Studios in San Francisco. Adam and Jonah first worked together on Jonah’s 2006 self-titled record that was produced by Lee Townsend.
The end result is an album essentially “unproduced” by the artists themselves with a surprisingly good sonic quality, intimate performances and a high level of song craft that fans of Jonah Smith’s music have come to expect.
The CD will be released on July 13th with a show at Joe’s Pub in New York. There will be a limited edition pressing of 500 copies that will each be signed and numbered.