Misner & Smith
Sunday, June 10, 2012, 9:00pm
Faith Petric Stage
Misner & Smith are a gem of a musical pairing, offering a refreshing take on contemporary folk music. Their lovely harmonies and perfectly blended voices fit within classic American traditions, and their songwriting and storytelling transport the listener to a world of their creation. That is the hallmark of any folk singer worth his or her salt, but Misner & Smith have a truly unique quality in t...he chemistry of their duets that sets them apart from the field. Just when you thought you'd heard all that the Americana/Folk revival could show you, Misner & Smith bring a freshness and lyrical vitality you won't find anywhere else.
Sam Misner and Megan Smith first met as actors on a production of the musical Woody Guthrie's American Song and immediately recognized a mutual love of Americana music, particularly focused on vocal harmonies Megan Smith plays the upright bass and mandolin while Sam Misner plays guitar, and with stellar award-winning songwriting to boot, Misner & Smith retain a connection to roots music that has been described as "the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary". Coming together as a performing duo, the two drew from their careers as actors and musicians, finding that the art of storytelling was one of the common threads running through both forms. As performers, Misner & Smith are wonderful on stage, sharing stories and jokes with the audience and drawing people in to their music.
The duo's new album Live at the Freight & Salvage is both a testament to their talent and the quality of their live performances. Recorded at Berkeley's famed acoustic venue, the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Misner & Smith's live album sounds as good as most studio albums, but with the added energy of a live show. While each song is lovely, there are true gems to this album, such as the award-winning "Madeline (Paradise Cracked)," which rightly won the West Coast Songwriters Association award in 2007. Touring throughout the West Coast, Misner & Smith have been performing regularly and have built a steady and loyal following.
In a recent review, Paul Liberatore of the Marin Independent Journal called Sam "one of the most promising songwriters I've heard in quite some time." Hicks With Sticks Magazine described Misner & Smith as "a Bay Area treasure to be shared…with a touch for taking simple ideas and infusing them with unexpected meaning, metaphor and imagery." Though it is not always easy to put their music into one category it is evident that the tradition of duets is alive and well in these two performers.
Misner & Smith's thoughtful songwriting harkens back to the glory days of folk songwriters like Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, even Crosby, Stills and Nash. With a timeless San Francisco sound and poetic songwriting, they are a duo that blend roots and folk at the cutting edge of contemporary acoustic music.