ONE HOUSE was produced, engineered and mixed by Blue Miller (who’s recorded and toured with several music legends to include Bob Seger, Albert King, Peabo Bryson and Isaac Hayes, and who co-produced Grammy winner India Arie’s breakout album, Acoustic Soul) and mastered by Jim Lightman. ONE HOUSE features 10 original songs (including co-writes with Mike Willis/Jackie Kavan, Lori Shropshire/Deanna Walker, Dean Madonia, Tom Favreau, and Mike Willis) and is filled with old friends, mentors and collaborators. Joining Smith (acoustic guitar/vocals) in the studio were Doug Kahan (bass), Jon Fletcher (drums), Blue Miller (percussion, electric/acoustic guitar, keyboard, papoose, kalimba, background vocals), Edward J Smith and Joe Robinson (electric guitars), Jelly Roll Johnson (harp), John Catchings (cello), Larry Franklin (fiddle, chin cello), Denny Hemingson (steel guitar, lap steel), AND Mitch Fletcher, Alicia Michilli, Chantae Cann and Mary Gauthier (background vocals).
Real life stories drive David G Smith's songs. The album opens with the title cut, “One House” a call to action for anyone who lives on planet earth. Smith’s storytelling shines in “Jesus Is In Prison” a surprising story of death row redemption, and “Angels Flew” celebrating the spontaneous armada that rescued people in Lower Manhattan on 9/11. In each, the stories unfold effortlessly over strong rhythms and unforgettable melodies. Gauthier, once again, makes an appearance. Inda Arie backup singer, Chantae Cann lends her angelic voice.
Raised in a musical family in the hills of northeastern Iowa’s Mississippi Valley, David G Smith dropped out of college to form the band, Clay Mills, with his brother, Ed. The group mixed reliable bar covers with Smith’s original material for a while, until a return to college ended the run. But only briefly!
The new graduate headed to Denver, Colorado where he helped to create a touring group that could focus on creating new music. For 10 years, he toured the Rockies with several groups, including Robin Banks, an all-original rock band managed for a time by Ed Cassidy, drummer for the 60’s band, Spirit.
Finally, his passion for songwriting combined with a leap of faith compelled him to move his young family to Nashville for the first time.
"The old story about: I didn't choose writing, it chose me.... it was like that. After a couple of test run trips to Nashville, off I went to learn from the best."
Five years of day jobs and songwriting in Nashville created a network of friends and musicians still influencing him today. But family transitions called him back to Iowa, a surprising catalyst to his songwriting.
First came family – helping to raise his daughter, Calista. Then came an unexpected storytelling opportunity. Smith worked as a medical investigator, examining complaints against physicians most often made by real people in life-changing situations. The work required extensive interviews, observation and note-taking, nurturing the kind of specificity that makes his songs absolutely unique.
While living in Storm Lake, Iowa Smith helped create Pangaea, a four-piece band that stretched his writing voice in new directions.
Following his daughter’s high school graduation in 1997, Smith returned to Nashville, visiting monthly as a student bent on “learning to write the best song I can.” He soaked in technique and advice from mentors Hugh Prestwood, Angela Kaset and Rick Beresford. In a succession of songwriter retreats and sessions, Smith co-wrote with some of Nashville’s best writers including Barry Dean and John Schweers. Smith enjoyed a successful string of cuts with other artists.
Along the way he developed a writing process. "I read a lot. Jot down ideas. Get things simmering subconsciously. Then I show up to work every day and wait for the muse to speak."
His song catalog began to explode, but at a price. "I started losing my soul writing material that didn't speak to me in the name of writing songs for others to sing. It was an insidious process and eventually the muse was not showing up and I didn’t know why. “
He ventured on a song-writing retreat to Costa Rica with Americana all-stars Darrell Scott, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Mary Gauthier. He recalls both Darrell and Mary looking him straight in the eye and challenging him to stop writing songs to pitch to others. Their advice: To stop chasing the Nashville music scene and start performing his own songs. But their real challenge cut to the bone: Write the truth!
A few months later, with the help of friends and producers, Miles Wilkinson and Buddy Mondlock, Smith created his first full-length album titled Non-Fiction at Bolton Farms Studio in Nashville, with a special guest appearance by Gauthier. The national debut drew raves. Smith debuted the CD with sold-out release shows at The Redstone Room in Davenport, Iowa and the Bluebird Café in Nashville.
Taking his mentors’ advice to heart, Smith followed the release with heavy touring including radio stops and interviews: clubs, cafes, taverns, auditoriums, house concerts, solo and with bands. His national tour included opening spots for Justin Townes Earle, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Rory Block, and performing with Rissi Palmer, Jelly Roll Johnson and Buddy Mondlock. He remains a regular performer at The Bluebird Café.
Following Non-Fiction, Smith released two EPs: From the Ellen Kennedy Fine Arts Center (his opening set for Justin Townes Earle) a digital-only release; and Live From Nashville joined by his musical family, brothers Ed J Smith, Danny Ray Smith and nephew Dillon T Smith recorded at the famed Third & Lindsley club.
His songs have been featured on Fox Network’s “Saving Grace”, Travel Channel’s “Rissi Palmer’s Country”, and Lifetime’s “Chasing Nashville”. He earned First Place in the 2008 International Song Competition, country category for "Made for You". A new song Smith wrote with Roxie Randle, "No One To Anybody", (about a teenage girl who seems invisible to everyone around her), has just been released by Randle as a single.
A major component of Smith’s career is “give-back” which includes donating time and/or money to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Boys Town and others who are in need.
"To have a good life we can build on/To Have a future for our children/It takes a place that is safe and sound/Can we live in One House?/Can we live in One House that's built on higher ground?"