Interviewed and edited by Aziza Cunningham
After battling it out at Music City Mayhem, Lightning 100 talks to our 2015 champs before their big show at Live On The Green Music Festival on September 11th. Zack Smith answered a few questions to better acquaint us with his and Caitlin Doyle’s winning folk-soul/instrument-heavy act: Smooth Hound Smith.
Lightning: How did the band form, and explain the name of the band.
Zack: The formation of Smooth Hound Smith was kismet, really. Caitlin and I were aware of each other playing in bands in LA, then the timing worked out and we got together after I had moved to East Nashville and she visited me. She sat in with me one fateful night at Mad Donna’s, singing harmonies and playing her washboard, and we just built on it from there and started touring. The name comes from my father who is a waterman, maritime archaeologist, and 50+ year SCUBA diving veteran. He mentioned that he was seeing “smooth hounds” in the ocean out in California; they’re a genus of shark that hangs in temperate tidal waters. It also sounds like a blues man that never existed, but should have, so I put it with my last name.
Lightning: Who does what in the songwriting process, and any interesting methods or go-to places for writing?
“Lauren Farrah is a singer-songwriter currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. Let us first put special emphasis on the “singer” half of that title, as Farrah was gifted with a truly lovely voice, a warm velvety alto, as rich as chocolate, as smokey as bourbon. The skill she’s acquired in wielding such a voice is no less striking. Farrah’s singing is passionate with an expressiveness ranging from vulnerable, to commanding, to haunting, permiated by a sweet, nameless sadness.Her tone is that of intense sincerity and earnestness. Certainly she can be playful, but even at play there is a gravity, a certain seriousness, underscoring each line.
The songs and their treatments are kind of a nouveau-Americana fare, with certain overtures toward pop. The arrangements evoke the sense of raw space, the crossing of vast tracts of eart. Across these distances, each instrument calls out, a cry as catchy and melodious as it is mournful.
Farrah has described herself as “just a girl who’s trying to figure out the ‘why’s’ of life.” But, in truth, her writing shows her to be at least equally preoccupied with life’s “how’s” and “ought’s”. Farrah’s songs portray a deep concern with morality, dignity, and integrity. Thesse are brought to the fore by various situations and crises of the soul which challenge and threaten to annul them. Indeed, the many vicissitudes of life- interpersonal struggles, the steady receding of youth and innocence, dissapointment, betrayal despair- make their villainous cameos, while waylaying our heroine in her quest for the ideal. But even in her puzzlement, even when she is lost, Farrah retains the faith of a seeker, if only by the earnestness of her search, the continual grasping for meaning. Like a true pilgrim, she is unswervingly devoted to her
destination, to her ideal. Each doubt, each dissapointment, each dark night of the soul turns out not to be a roadblock, but a signpost, a mileage marker on the road to glory.”
“Great Expectations” is Lauren’s debut EP on River Jones Music label, and is now available on iTunes, and Amazon worldwide!