Calgary, AB | Indie Pop

Samantha Savage Smith

Winterruption Performance Details

show date
January 27

show time

show venue
McDougall United Church

show notes:

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Fake Nice, the third album from Calgary singer, songwriter, and musician Samantha Savage Smith, is her most accomplished album to date by a mile. Following the release of her last critically acclaimed full-length Fine Lines, she took a short hiatus, logging hours in Calgary indie institutions Lab Coast and Crystal Eyes, and helped start a record label from the ground up. So while Fake Nice has been a few years in the making, it’s worth the wait.

The album was co-produced by Smith and longtime collaborator Chris Dadge (Alvvays, Chad Van Gaalen, Lab Coast, Jom Comyn, Marlaena Moore) at his increasingly busy Child Stone Studios. They worked with a blend of both digital and analog recordings, and the result is a warm, inviting soundworld peppered with glistening details and layers of lovingly sculpted sounds. The production process was full of trial & error, sometimes completing fully finished tracks done before scrapping them and re-building from the ground up. The relaxed environs of Child Stone Studios certainly allowed for this level of scrutiny and exploration, but it also came down to Smith’s commitment to “not settling” – there is nothing on this album that shouldn’t be there.

The instrumental palette has widened and deepened this time too, featuring sounds never before heard on a Samantha Savage Smith album: synths, strings, drum machines, and woodwinds abound, moving her work into a new frame of reference that could include contemporaries like Cate Le Bon, Angel Olsen, and SZA, while some of the glassier synth textures recall cherished 70s and 80s acts like Cocteau Twins, Roxy Music, and Kate Bush.

These new sonic developments can be credited to Smith digging further into the production process, getting her hands dirtier than ever before and tackling new instruments like drums, bass, keyboards, drum machines, and dulcimer in addition to her usual guitar playing. The strengths of her multi-instrumentalist collaborators paid dividends too; mutli-instrumentalist producer Dadge’s contributions were rounded out by keyboard & guitar from Scott “Monty’ Munro (Preoccupations), bass & backing vocals from Ryan Bourne (Ghostkeeper), and saxophone, keyboards & guitar from live band member Nate Waters. A final layer of sheen was added by the great Graham Lessard (Basia Bulat, Timbre Timbre, Kevin Drew), who recorded Smith’s vocals at his home studio and mixed the album in close collaboration with the singer.

Since the release of Fake Nice, Smith and her band completed a quick rip around the UK, playing The Great Escape and FOCUS Wales festivals, and a handful of club dates with quirky indie pop act Garden Centre. Over the summer, she played Sled Island, East Town Get Down, and the Calgary Folk Music Festival, and recently shared a bill with Sub Pop recording artist and fellow Calgarian Chad Van Gaalen.

Both Exclaim! and Cups & Cakes listed Fake Nice as one of their most anticipated albums of the year, and since its release in April, it’s been racking up stellar reviews. Exclaim! called it “an excellent album whose shimmering surface reveals deeper, refracting depths in questions of person and place” and The Scene hailed it as “extraordinarily wonderful, confident and bountiful”; the album spent a number of weeks at #1 on CKUA’s charts, and was nominated for Recording of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards.

Fake Nice is out now via Saved By Vinyl, on LP, CD, and all digital & streaming platforms.