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Gunner & Smith explores the past on “Byzantium”

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Saskatoon‘s Gunner and Smith, aka Saskatoon songwriter Geoff Smith , is excited to share an eclectic bill at the Slice with local jazz rock band The Groove Apostles, Winnipeg instrumental, experimental jazz band Apollo Suns and Calgary indie rock band  Windigo, Nov. 3.

Geoff Smith of Gunner and Smith joins an eclectic bill at the Slice this week. Photo submitted
There is no Gunner in Gunner & Smith.
“There’s a lot of people named Geoff Smith who play music. So I changed it so it would be more memorable, Originally it was just me and my guitar and a buddy of mine named the guitar Rex Gunner, so it became Gunner and Smith,” chuckled Geoff Smith, taking some time to organize a 10 date in 11 day tour of Western Canada.
“I added more musicians as the sound grew,” Smith said.

He is supporting their sophomore CD “Byzantium, ” which they recorded with Andrija Tokic, who also produced the Alabama Shakes.

“He was great. We actually flew him out to Saskatoon. But he only records on analog tape so we found a studio 100 km west of Saskatoon (Sinewave Studios near Perdue) which did that,” said Smith.

“So I was in the control room and the drummer and bassist were in their own rooms. We wanted to capture as close to the sound the live experience of us playing together as we could,” he said.
“It was a pretty different experience for us. There isn’t as much room to edit, so you have to get a pretty good take the first time,” he said.

In addition to recording  with Tokic, Gunner and Smith also played the Zandari Festa is Seoul, South Korea.

“It was definitely the farthest  I’ve ever gone for a show. It was an industry showcase, so you had people from a lot of different countries, about 9 or 10 different countries,” he said.
He and band mates band mates,  drummer Nik  Winnitowy, bassist Malcolm White, keyboardist Brent Letkeman and guitarist  Graham Tilsley will be playing a short and sweet set.

“There will be five of us coming. And there‘s four bands on the bill, so  it will be our higher energy set. It will be a short and sweet set,” he described, adding it will include a lot of music from the new album “Byzantium.”
 He noted only one of the songs is directly about the Byzantium empire.

“I had a lot of songs that worked well together. They were about things that are no longer there, but a had an impact on your life. Though you can never go back,” he observed.

“For example, my grandmother died and I always used to spend my summers or her farm. It will always be a part of my life though is something I can‘t revisit,” he said.
He is looking forward to playing with a full band.

“I toured Ontario on my own. But I have 10 shows in 11 days with the band is Saskatchewan and Alberta. it’s a lot more fun  to play with a band, but I have to figure out  how good the money is before I can bring them,” he said, adding he will take the winter off to plan ahead for Spring.

“Winter is a good time to plan and write new music,” Smith said.

 He is looking forward to returning to Lethbridge.
“It’s always fun and I like to visit CKXU, the community  radio station. So I can visit Sean (Warkentin, CKXU’s Music director) who I met when he was on tour. We’ll probably do a session there as well,” he said.
 Gunner and Smith, Apollo Suns, The Groove Apostles and Windigo play the Slice at 9 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 October 2017 09:23 )  
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