Both Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith were born into musical families and started performing at a very young age. Robert began as a kid singing and playing bass guitar in his blues-singing father's band. Later, he sang and played in countless garage bands with his brother and friends from surrounding New Jersey towns, before going on to self-produce several albums of original songs and perform in many New York City-area venues. Katherine, whose grandfather, great aunts and uncles, father and mother all sang, started harmonizing as a teenager with her parents' Connecticut-based choral group. She then went on to perform musical theater pieces, jazz and pop songs in high school and college productions. Katherine has also combined her love of singing with an affinity for writing, visual art, stagecraft and acting.
* * * *
Ever since our first – unexpected – meeting during the summer of 2007, we have both felt like there were unseen hands drawing us together to create something more than each of us were doing on our own. It started during the production of Robert's solo record Heart Broken Open, for which we worked together to develop the album artwork and photos. We also sang together on several of the songs on that album and collaborated on a concept and storyboard for a music video for the song "Secrets."
After the album was finished and released (on the Brooklyn-based label Big Sleep Records in 2009), we continued to let ourselves be led along this path of collaboration, staying open and saying 'yes' to the possibilities it offered.
We tried out the duo act idea for the first time at a singing/performing workshop led by singer/musician/writer/teacher Joy Askew (Peter Gabriel, Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson), who reacted very favorably to our sound. Encouraged, we continued arranging existing material for our two voices and also writing new songs together, and the Oakes & Smith duo was born. We quickly set about recording demos at home and recruiting band members for shows and recordings.
Since beginning to gig together in Spring, 2010, we have played many shows from Maine to New Jersey - in cafes and bars, at festivals, theaters and arts centers, and busking on street corners - and our music has been met consistently with a warm and enthusiastic response. In October, 2011, we were selected to be featured during the Made in the Berkshires festival of local artists opening night show at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA.
In summer 2011, we began work on our first professionally produced EP, recording drums, bass, acoustic guitar and piano at The Isokon Studio in Woodstock, NY, engineered by D. James Goodwin (The Bravery, Norah Jones, MTV, HBO) and Eli Walker. In early 2012, Brooklyn-based guitarist/producer Jason Loughlin (Amos Lee, Rachael Yamagata, Lesley Gore) joined the project as producer.
Our influences include: The Swell Season, Simon & Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Black Dub, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, Kate Bush, Joy Askew, Sarah McLachlan, The Weepies, Guster, Peter Murphy, The October Project, Moody Blues, Leonard Cohen, Indigo Girls, Goldfrapp, Feist, Frou Frou/Imogen Heap, The Waifs, Azure Ray, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, David Bowie, The Sundays, Cocteau Twins, Shelleyan Orphan, Cowboy Junkies, 10,000 Maniacs, Tori Amos, The Frames, The Beatles, Squeeze, Sleeping At Last, Sloan Wainwright, Irish traditional music
Robert Oakes - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Katherine Smith - Vocals
Oakes & Smith Live EP - July, 2011
Oakes & Smith Demo EP - 2010
Oakes and Smith to Play Arts Center Concert
[+ Show ]
Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith, a musical duo from the Berkshires in Massachusetts, will be in con...Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith, a musical duo from the Berkshires in Massachusetts, will be in concert at Marlborough Arts Center on Friday, Sept. 24th at 7:30 pm. Admission is $5 per person at the door.
Oakes and Smith write, play and sing their original music. They have recorded several CDs, which will be for sale at the concert. Voices blending sweetly in an American ballad/pop style, they are a very popular duo. You can hear samples of their music at www.robertoakes.net
Marlborough Arts Center is a handicapped-accessible building located at 231 N. Main St., Marlborough, CT. It is a regional, non-profit center, run entirely by volunteers and self-supporting, dedicated to sharing fine art, the performing arts, and fine crafts with the public. Contact 860-295-9389 or see the website at www.marlborougharts.org
PDF RiderOakes and Smith Stage Requirements
There are no upcoming dates at this time.