It’s maybe no surprise that New York-based Jonah Smith came into his own as singer/songwriter/pianist in the world’s biggest melting pot. Check in with Smith in a subterranean Downtown jazz club, sit for a while and listen to him play—his hat cocked sideways, his manner shy, his humor dry—and you’ll see that he, like New York, is a little bit of everything: a seasoned player, he’s a little bit jazz; a heartfelt vocalist, he’s definitely soul; a talented balladeer and storyteller, he’s even a little Nashville. Yet, essentially, at its essence, it’s rock and roll.
Smith’s a throwback, for sure, and there’s something very familiar about his music, but it doesn’t really sound like anything you’ve heard before. It does, however, sound very of the moment. His voice soulful and magnetic and his songs awash in the warm, distinctive tones of his Fender Rhodes, Smith writes songs that sound brand new.
Tastefully rootsy and endlessly soulful, Smith’s self-titled debut—the premier release from Relix Records—ranges from vintage, pedal steel-laced Americana to classic, Rhodes-drenched, blue-eyed soul.
Listen at Last.fm