I wrote this song about my father who passed away sixteen years ago today

I wrote this about my father who passed away sixteen years ago today…

People treat loss in strange ways; back then I quit my job, packed up his car and drove cross country. It did me good to speed across Kansas, sit on the edge of the Grand Canyon with his camera, pull into lonely motels and meet curious characters. I remember it fondly now.

I’m half way through my 12-song album called Nothing Is Ever Lost. The phrase is inscribed on a simple memorial bench in Telluride, CO overlooking the San Miguel river, land forever protected thanks to my family through The Nature Conservancy.

- Marc

nythroughthelens

nythroughthelens:

New York City - Snow at Night - Hercules

View these photos (and more) of the first snow of 2014 in NYC also known as Hercules (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):

New York City Hercules: First Snowstorm of 2014

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Looking for more New York City Winter photos with snow? Here is a set (click on each photo to enlarge):

New York City: Snow

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It’s hard for me to resist a good snowfall in New York City. There is nothing quite like the city when it is muffled into silence under several layers of snow. This first snowstorm of 2014 has been named Hercules and while it didn’t feel very herculean while I was out walking in it, it definitely delivered in terms of awesomeness.

I bundled myself and my Sony A99 up and walked from my apartment on the Lower East Side west past Washington Square Park and into the West Village before I made my way up towards midtown finally ending up in Times Square. I nearly kept going but the wind was getting more and more rambunctious with the windchill near zero.

I may post a few more over the weekend since I took a ton of photos. Enjoy :)

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Ring In The New Year With This Ode To New York City

Happy New Year’s everyone. Psyched that THE FRISKY .com is featuring my music video premiere for “New York City”. 

To celebrate the video release, I’m giving away a free MP3 of the song, please share.

Check out the video and The Frisky: 

"Ring In The New Year With This Ode To New York City"

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Marc Smith: “New York City” Official Music Video

"New York City" is a portrait of conflict and resolution in the great metropolis that both raises a toast and cries in your drink this New Years. The city personifies a range of emotional challenges that are at once personal and public, laying blame and admitting guilt, aspiring to dreams…

MARC SMITH is a Brooklyn based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist currently releasing his first solo album Nothing Is Ever Lost in monthly singles through marcsmithmusic.com and all online vendors.

Click For a Free Download of New York City

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A Great Year: Music, Rooftops, and More

This year has been good to me and I’m finishing it up with a video for “New York City” on December 30th.

A new song will continue to roll out each month through June 2014 unless the album gets bigger without asking. Right now it’s 12 songs, five of which reside at marcsmithmusic.com.

I’ll be getting some live shows on the calendar in a few months with a group of guys who are as talented and friendly as they come.

It’s also time to build some new gear, so my Christmas list includes all the parts for a tube mic amp based on the EMI Abbey Road console - warmer than chestnuts on an open fire. Meantime, cheers to those nice summer days atop the roof.

PS- I’m hanging out on The Twitter now @marcsmithmusic

Shooting the Music Video for New York City

So excited to be shooting the new video for my single New York City. Director of Photography Arthur Woo.

Lyrics-

I miss you New York City / I’ve been away too long / When I’m down and out uplift me / I get jealous when you’re gone / Well you clean up real pretty / Just enough to lead me on and on and on / You’re messed up New York City / You drink and smoke too much / When it’s time to go home with me you don’t even wanna touch / Try to get there in hurry but your train ain’t in no rush ain’t in no rush / No conscience New York City / Friends begging what they need while you roll out the red carpet for the kings on down the street / If your wall gets any higher your dream and my dream may never gonna meet / I told you don’t feel pity / I loved and lost again / Been crying at your doorstep / You’ve seen the grief I’m in / This happens every day to you the broken hearts come passing through / Forgive me I still love you if you’re willing / That time you tried to hit me out of nowhere you appeared / I hit you back what is this need to prey on all my fear / You might bring me to my knees but I’ll drag you down I guarantee kicking and screaming / I’m sorry I didn’t mean that / You treat me pretty well / So many ways around you I still get lost to tell / The truth is I’m not half as proud as you the day you fell / One minute heaven turned to hell / I told you don’t feel pity / I loved and lost again / Been crying at your doorstep / You’ve seen the grief I’m in / This happens every day to you / The broken hearts come passing through / Forgive me I still love you if you’re willing / We don’t always get along my friend / What if I told you what I need instead of staying on this hot pursuit for a dream so here’s the proof / Think I’m gonna have to leave you and it’s killing / Just hold me New York City / At least you could pretend we fell in love when no one else would bother to stand in / It isn’t you it’s me or was it something else I said / Please believe me / Do you still need me

Alligators and Snakes

You wouldn’t know why would you care / it’s simply known as over there / nothing left to kill or share / they’re bombing language barriers / thoughts and prayers and feeble creeds / god has blessed this killing spree / I swear what an industry / alligators and snakes slither in columns of tanks / on behalf of all our mistakes / a grateful nation we ain’t / he came home unsure if he’d been blind or deceived and camouflaged nightmares from wife and baby / it’s suddenly over / he’s told to retreat and sober up quickly they beg and they plead / flashing back so slow in fact / the fog of war recedes while the English language marched around it rolled right up to our knees / while they committed news the view they laughed debating was murder by degrees / they lay waste across highways / turn civilized sideways / drowned out in crime wave / it’s insane Ol’ Glory have you no shame / the price of life on rocks engraved / get up boy soldier through the pain / well I swear

Ghost

I stay mostly close to home / unseen, untold / nowhere to go / empty constantly / what eats at me / if I could see through clouds of smoke / the days grow cold / the mirrors don’t look back the walls don’t speak / and wandering the halls that faintly creak is all you’ll hear at most / whispers of my ghost / I go out on limbs / no one sees when my grip loosens / look up listen / I’m all alone / the mirrors don’t look back the walls to speak / and wandering the halls that faintly creak is all you’ll hear at most / whispers of my ghost / the years we don’t get back / no way to cheat / I used to laugh and hide / now all I seek / you have to lean in close / whisper to my ghost

Play Marc Smith’s Song “Ghost”

MARC SMITH is a Brooklyn based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist currently self-releasing his first solo album Nothing Is Ever Lost in “monthly singles” through marcsmithmusic.com and all online vendors.

“The songs capture a broad arc of my life.  Each recording feels like assembling the evidence of many years.”

Twelve songs are currently slated for a full-length album, which began an innovative “single release” schedule in May 2013 with Anywhere With You, a reflective duet featuring his wife that offers no hint of louder things to come.  

“The songs are released to coincide with dates that are personally meaningful.  I wrote Anywhere With You  for my wife on our third anniversary because she requested a song we could perform together.  I released it for her birthday months later and love that it was the song that got the ball rolling.  Half Way to Grace was my next dedication to her written on our second anniversary and released recently on our fourth.”

Alligators and Snakes releasing Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2013

"This is a homecoming song but not a joyous one.  I wish as much honor was paid to those servicemen and women who speak out against war as those who have been ruined by it.  It’s a tribute to the troops and a stand against war."  

Ghost - ”I enjoyed releasing this song for Halloween.  I wrote it years ago in the dead of winter at a farm house in Maine where the silence was deafening.  I was told there was a ghost who lived in the house, and sometimes I believed it.  Being up there, I got to thinking about what a ghost must go through.  Ghosts are cultural images the world over that embody loneliness and despair.  They are the fear and isolation we all carry around inside when all outward appearances have people believing the opposite.  It’s a sorrowful song for sure, one of many voices that I feel need to be heard.”          

Half Way to Grace presents solitary acoustic strains that recognize a country ballad before bursting open with electric guitars and finishing on a harmonic chorus.  It was followed by New York City, an anthemic personification of Smith’s hometown that levels blame and admits fault to a walking beat that builds to a shouting match with thick guitars and crashing drums.

New York City and the Single Release Concept

“With New York City I decided that releasing a new song each month would be a promise to myself to complete a collection of recordings while also a way to present the music to fans in real time.  We’re all consuming music in such diverse and instantaneous ways and the album is no longer a signature event for musicians the way it used to be.  I can’t remember that last time I sat and listened to even my favorite musicians’ albums all the way through.  My own listening habits are like a lot of people’s, so putting out a monthly single feels natural to me, and hopefully it’s more exciting for fans to receive new music on a regular basis – something to look forward to.”  

The single release concept mirrors the asynchronous nature of the internet and social media itself.

A story or song has limited timeliness—a few days of tweets and shares may represent the climax of a new release. But stories and creative works can resurface in unexpected ways, recombine and reenter the collective pulse at any moment.

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Marc Smith was born in Bucharest, Romania to American parents whose Foreign Service careers took them abroad regularly, including to Jakarta, Indonesia where he attended high school.  Saxophone was his first instrument in grade school until the drums drew his attention in the school band.  Playing in rock bands throughout college, he eventually picked up the guitar.  “I was ecstatic the first time I set words to a guitar line,” Smith says. With a musical temperament that swings between rock, folk, and country, he settled in New York City, where all points converge.

“Living here is pure rhythm, tempo and emotion, compressed and constant,” Smith says, describing his relationship to New York and its creative influence. 

You accelerate and decelerate in response to everyone surrounding you.  I think my songs behave accordingly.  But I feel that I rarely set out to write a song consciously.  They develop in me somewhat beyond my control, until I take the wheel.  I’ll hear someone in the street speak a word or phrase that triggers an idea in my head that will stay with me for five minutes, or maybe five months.  Or I’ll noodle on the guitar for a few hours until a tiny progression happens—a kernel.  I’ve written songs in a day while others have developed over years.  Right now I have one waiting on the shelf that is bars away from completion.  At some point I’ll play it through again and the ending will present itself as it’s meant to be.  I can’t say when that will happen and it’s doesn’t much matter.  To me, that’s the joy of writing music.  There are no parameters and no one to answer to.”

Producer and Multi-instrumentalist

As vocalist, guitarist, drummer and more, Smith set out to perform all instrumentation himself, simultaneously engineering much of the material he records in the studio.

“My growth as an audio engineer is a blessing and curse with my own music.  I tend to go through cycles favoring the recording process over the music itself. Recently I’ve sought out musicians who can bring that third dimension I was missing as the sole performer and producer.  It changes everything in the most positive way.  Now I have the best of both worlds, musician and engineer of my own record.”

DIY Music Equipment 

Smith goes deeper than most into the sonic details of his music, hand-building essential pieces of equipment used to record.  “The more I wrote songs and learned recording, the more interested I became in what distinguished good equipment from bad.  I couldn’t justify spending thousands of dollars on a mic pre if I didn’t understand the qualitative differences behind the front panel knobs. 

Nowadays, there is a huge DIY community online and so many boutique equipment designers that you can literally build any classic piece of gear for your studio.  Building my own amps, pedals, compressors, EQs and more just brings me closer to my music.  I love being responsible for every aspect of my record, from the song idea itself to the performance, arranging and editing, all the way down to the smallest components that process my voice or guitar in the signal chain.  Root to branch as they say.”

Sharing Knowledge With Those In Need

In addition to his own music, Smith engineers projects with independent artists around New York, and for five years has directed a unique recording and music therapy program at Phoenix House, a national drug and alcohol treatment provider.

The Phoenix House music studio program is underwritten by Kara DioGuardi, a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, record producer, music publisher and former American Idol judge. 

“Kara gave a very unique gift in support of a cause she truly believes in.  As one of several studio directors around the country who implement her music program I feel like I’m as much a recipient of her good will as the clients I work with.  She has given her personal time, even by visiting the facility to hold personal studio sessions with clients.  She’s really incredible and I thank her, wherever I can, that I get to do what I love due to her gift…   

I honestly have what I consider a dream job. 

I wake up every day and make music with people who are going through recovery; complete strangers when they step into the studio but friends by the time they leave.  I help people come out of their shells to discover talents and motivation they never knew existed within them. Their stories are both heartbreaking and totally inspiring. Telling them through music captures the full emotional range of their experiences.  I teach our clients the mechanics of recording, songwriting and arranging and provide individual instrument instruction.  

There is no doubt in my mind that music is a fully therapeutic activity—it tames the beast within, a client once said to me.  I couldn’t agree more.”

*Follow Marc Smith, for updates, concert dates, and monthly single releases

Subsequently all Marc Smith singles are available on iTunes, Amazon, and all online vendors.

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