April Smith is a NJ-born, Brooklyn-dwelling musician, and despite the fact that the album ‘Songs For A Sinking Ship’ is her debut, people have already been taking notice. If you’re a fan of Showtime’s hit Weeds, you’ve likely heard April’s track “Terrible Things” on the show’s Season 6 promo that aired this summer.
Then there’s the new NFL women’s apparel commercial spot that features Alyssa Milano and the band performing a cover of Leslie Gore‘s 1964 classic “You Don’t Own Me”. And that’s just a couple of examples of April’s music being utilized, all for a newcomer with no record label striving to remain independent.
I caught up with April on the phone while her and the band were driving between gigs out west. Have a listen and you’ll quickly learn that the girl is not only talented and a bit cheeky, but extremely down to earth and fun.
April Smith Interview Part 1: Road trips, giving unique gifts to Tina Fey, and trumping Snookie
The name April Smith & The Great Picture Show really does efficiently evoke the vocally-driven, sepia-toned music and carnival-like spirit of this group. The members behind April are multi-instrumentalists making use of stand-up bass, horns, accordion, mandolin and so forth. At times on this record you’re given the feeling that you’re sitting in a cabaret early in the 20th century drinking highballs.
If you’ve been watching Boardwalk Empire and are liking the flapper music interludes scattered throughout the episodes..take that sound, give it a contemporary indie edge and sassiness, then toss in the April’s impressive voice and you’ve got ‘Songs For A Sinking Ship’.
“Can’t Say No”, “Movie Loves A Screen” and “Terrible Things” represent those Roaring 20’s-meets 40’s Wartime-meets Tom Waits moments well, while “Colors” is an all-out medicine show stomper (which features what sure as heck sounds like a kazoo solo, but it’s probably more like a well-muted trumpet).
But then April’s soaring voice comes directly to the forefront on slower tracks such as “What’ll I Do” a saucy ballad on which she sings over a bed of strings.
April Smith Interview Part 2: Musical backgrounds, Weeds/NFL commercial, and foodie musicians
Reviews of the live shows have been terrific, and I have a feeling that here in Chicago, we won’t have an opportunity to catch this group in a space as intimate as Beat Kitchen after this tour.
Tickets are just $10, and you can get them here.
April Smith & The Great Picture Show – “Colors”
April Smith & The Great Pictures Show – “Movie Loves A Screen”
“Terrible Things” video:
The NFL apparel spot featuring the cover of “You Don’t Own Me”:
The video of “Larry” as discussed in the interview with April..