Christopher Smith
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Christopher Smith


Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter




"Reviews:: Christopher Smith The Beckon Call"

Before I started hitting the keys in front of me this morning, I had planned on talking about the benefits of consistency and how Justin Rutledge plays off of that comfort I feel when I hear his voice and guitar. I'll still venture down that path closer to the release of his new record, but today searching for consistency felt more like complacency and I wanted to write about something that stood out.

Standing out from the crowd isn't what you'd probably associate from Vancouver's Christopher Smith, a hushed bed/bathroom (and beyond) artist that prefers emotions and echoed whispers to energy, burst and tempo. His songs sound like isolation. Introspective glimpses into his soul that eventually get carried by subtle, but his tasteful arrangements would be just as powerful if Smith never sung a word.

It's almost fitting that we all probably know a Christopher Smith, not only by name but by the stories he tells. The Beckon Call is full of pain; Smith, like so many of us, has been run over by love and can't get past some of the most most hurt filled days. The sad clown is a common personality for song writers, but Christopher refuses to close himself off or lose hope. The optimism and desire to find love again that keeps him going also keeps the record moving and helps Smiths chords turn heartbreak into something heart warming. At just the right time Smith uses airy falsettos that soar over the melancholy and force you to smile through the darkest moments. - Hero Hill

"Christopher Smith :: The Beckon Call"

I was feeling the need to hear something solitary though not depressing and I found my way with the assistance of Christopher Smith’s upcoming debut lp, The Beckon Call. Smith was a visual artist in Vancouver which might lend to the subtle liveliness in his softly lit songs and their fittingly lush backdrops. Boompa Records will release The Beckon Call on May 11th. The single “Gently Gently” is available here. - Parasites and Sycophants

"WATCH: Christopher Smith Releases Video For “Pillars And Pyre” (FILTER Premiere) - See more at:"

The Vancouver-based songwriter Christopher Smith has released a captivating music video for "Pillars and Pyre." The video—which is also Smith's directorial debut—features a drummer performing in slow motion, and we have it here as a FILTER Premiere.

"Pillars and Pyre" comes from Smith's forthcoming sophomore album, Earning Keep, which will be released on August 28. Watch the high-contrast, high-energy (but slow-motion) video below.
- See more at: - FILTER Magazine

"Pillars and Pyre - Single"

It's always a treat when you get an original and a remix in one package; especially when neither are overextended in electronic or pop or indie musings and instead make the mood of the music (both in original form and when reworked) ever-soothing and romantic. Also a visual artist, Christopher Smith's work is earnest, passionate and melodic. The remix by Andy Dixon is funky; the build to the one minute mark is especially moving. You can grab both tracks for free.

Kathryn Kyte - New Canadian Music

"Christopher Smith"

In Christopher Smith’s newest album, Earning Keep, blatant biblical references exist without agenda. The plight of Adam and Eve, Samson’s holy journey, and even the great dichotomy of heaven and hell, all hold within their piety valuable fables for the secular human experience. Indeed, Smith’s poetic lyrics draw upon the authority of religious imagery to empower ordinary human life and crown its trials extraordinary. Earning Keep is it’s own earthly scripture.

Each of the fourteen songs on the album exist in a wake of sorrowful content and instrumentation. Earning Keep amounts to a melodic cathedral, with Smith’s vocals as smooth and varied as stained glass. Among the many songs, there exists one basic division: some songs are Smith’s brief and private laments, and others swarm and surround the listener, demanding their inclusion.

The title track belongs in that first group, using just Smith’s voice and a simple piano riff to decry lost love. “Old Testament Violence,” “Young Curmudgeon,” and “Knives and Sickles” follow the same formula, while the shortest track on the album (40 seconds long), “Chapped Lips of the Mouth Breather” is wholly instrumental; a sparse chiming hum colliding with a guitar riff and collaborating on impact. It sounds like an unnoticed moment, and in its own way seems equally personal and pensive.

The second group of songs are Smith’s mightiest, and of those, three stand tall. “Pillars and Pyre,” the album’s single, imagines mortal struggle in spiritual context, with Smith’s voice a virtuous suggestion of the human condition. “No Light Could Pass Through Me So I Have a Shadow” is cleverly decorated in symbolism, beginning with Smith’s christening voice and the confident steps of a drumbeat walking closely behind. As the song unfolds, lines of lyrics are echoed by backing vocals, and like shadows shortening with the moving sun, these words seem to grow closer to the voice that they originally derived from. “Pins on a Line” begins like a breeze. Cymbals rattle and the drumsticks fall down like hollow wood, light as the first words, “Wandering, wandering.” The power in this song is derived from Smith’s ability to achieve delicate moments of instrumental and vocal partnering and then allow that partnership to expand and complicate with perfect transition. And as the chorus innocently cries, “We need a light, we need a light,” something very human seems divine. - Discorder

"Christopher Smith’s - Earning Keep"

Have you ever wanted to go back to the good old days, or relive those memories that are so vivid and joyful from so long ago? So vivid, in fact, that you feel like you can just reach out and touch those memories as if they were happening right then and there. Go back to the days when everything made sense and life was simpler. Christopher Smith knows the way back, and wants to help you find you’re way as well. Christopher Smith is the Harriet Tubman for the poor souls enslaved to a depressed state.

Earning Keep is Christopher’s second album following his debut album in 2010 where his adult lullabies constructed the nostalgic feeling of youth. This follow-up album expands on his previous work and involves quite a bit more instrumentation while keeping a simplistic sound that resonates within the soul. “Pins on a Line” is an emotional track that calms a depressing mood and creates an optimism for the future. Using his dynamic crooning voice, Christopher can invite optimism while the instrumentals are painting a different picture.

The violin is used throughout the album and its drawn out notes are eerie and mysterious. The guitar playing is simple and direct keeping the tracks moving forward by taking the driver’s seat. The Bass rides shotgun with its’ rhythmic beats and checks the blind spots for the guitar by really filling the silence. The piano happens to be along for the ride as well and it strikes the chords that tug at your heartstrings and is a bit reminiscent of Coldplay or Snow Patrol. The drum set may be in the trunk, but it sure does make a lot of noise. “Samson” is an excellent track where the drumming is excellent and creative using the cymbals effectively.

Earning Keep does exactly what the words mean, earns its’ own keep. It is a fantastic album that only adds to this terrific summer. Relax, smoke a fatty and enjoy this album. It will bring you to a place where happiness was and can certainly be again. Recalling all of those vivid memories of happiness can help show you how to achieve it again. So in full, Christopher Smith doesn’t take you back to the better days, He helps you to create even better ones.
- Ultra VUlgar Superfiend


Just days after sending off an early version of Earning Keep for mastering, Christopher Smith received news of his producer’s death. Todd Simko, the renowned guitarist of Pure and Bif Naked, passed away in late April this year.

“It was kind of strange to hear that at the time,” says Smith, who met Simko through working together on his first album in 2010, The Beckon Call. Along with Kim Churchill, Smith was one of the last musicians Simko had worked with before his death.

But even over the phone — he’s on a quick vacation in San Francisco — you can tell that Smith is guarded and cautious with details, and he doesn’t let on much more. We move onto lighter subjects.

Earning Keep is Smith’s second album, with a heavy and despondent aesthetic that’s much darker than his previous one. “Comparing the two, it’s like night and day,” he says. To fill out some tracks of Earning Keep, Smith brought on board string quartets and horn sections, but other songs are bare bones minimalist, piano and vocals and not much else — this includes album single “Pillars and Pyre”.

But like most of his other artistic moves, Smith didn’t make a conscious effort to move his songwriting in any particular direction.

Before writing music, Smith was a visual artist, which doesn’t come as a surprise — his website feed is full of photos of patterned shirts and paintings. At a certain point, Smith found himself writing music as he painted, so he went with the flow and began to focus more of his efforts on creating music. “It was a very organic shift from one to the other,” he says. For now, supporting his new album is what he wants to concentrate on. - Beatroute

"Christopher Smith’s “Earning Keep” a keeper earning hearts"

Since the moment I heard this album, it’s been on my personal playlist. After the first listen I had to know more about the man behind those confident, cool undertones. However, even before the vocals caught my attention, the sensual instrumentals on his album “Earning Keep” managed to evoke an atmospheric, lounge vibe that set the perfect backdrop for Vancouver singer-songwriter Christopher Smith.

Released August 28 via Boompa Records, the album is a combination of diverse, yet simple instrumentals that are eloquently layered with Smith’s whispering vocals, resonating long after the final note.

Yet before Smith began his musical endeavors, he spent most of his time working in the visual arts. This background afforded Smith the opportunity to debut his directorial skills with the album’s first music video, “Pillars and Pyre.” The black and white video features an old school metal drummer set in slow motion, which, is a harsh visual contrast to the soft and dismal melodies projected in the song.

Smith’s talents seem unending, and his ability to find range is personified in the track “Earning Keep.” Smith kickstarts the album with a somber, neo-jazz vibe and allows each song to build throughout the album’s entirety, with the last track crossing into dubstep territory.

Christopher Smith is an up-and-coming artist that is off to a great start, and one I know I’ll keep on my radar. My recommended tracks include: “Settling Pitch,” “Pillars and Pyre,” “Samson,” and “No Light Could Pass Through Me So I Have a Shadow.” Although not on the “Earning Keep” album, I also recommend checking out the Andy Dixon remix of “Pillars and Pyre.” You can find the remix at - The Northern Light

"Vancouver musician Christopher Smith gives credit where it’s due"

Earning Keep, the sophomore set from local solo artist Christopher Smith, is one of the gentlest albums to come out of the city in recent memory. Despite featuring more full-band action than its predecessor, 2010’s The Beckon Call, the bulk of the record’s nimble six-string, brushed-drum, and muted-brass arrangements are dialled several notches below 10, while the tender piano vignettes placed in between most numbers bring it down even further.

Considering the precious vibe of Earning Keep, Smith sure set up a hell of a juxtaposition in the video clip for first single “Pillars and Pyre”. The musician opted to hang out behind the camera’s lens to play director, and instead made the focus of the clip a bearded, flaxen-haired metalhead who’s sporting potentially eye-gouging gauntlets while hammering out some heavy-handed rhythms. While the corpse-painted figure, former Bogus Tokus drummer Joel Loewen, might not seem an appropriate match for the bittersweet sonics, watching his stringy locks snap back in slow motion as he mangles his kit is oddly beautiful. But outside of the visuals, Smith sees ties between his song and the ethos of the black-metal scene.

“There are some parallels, thematically, with the black-metal message and ‘Pillars and Pyre’,” Smith states while sipping a frothy espresso outside of the homey, off-Main coffee haunt Le Marché St. George, noting how he relates to the genre’s disdain for organized religion.

“The whole idea was to discuss establishment and class through the subject of religion; you can pick up on some of that in there,” he continues of the tune, which homes in on religious iconography. While on the one hand, the track marvels at the beauty of a bright, burning funeral pyre, it takes aim at questionable religious leaders, coming to a head mid-song as Smith sings in a hushed falsetto, “He will let us down.”

“I think the album tackles some heavier subjects,” the songwriter explains of Earning Keep as a whole, “but they’re tucked away in love-song metaphors. I feel like you can discuss heavier shit that way.”

Tracks like the piano-plunking “Young Curmudgeon” and the wish-you-were-here “Bitch and Moan Beautiful English” are relatively direct heartbreakers, but Smith lays out an epic tale on opener “Settling Pitch”. In it, he presents a love-and-poverty-stricken couple dealing with life the best they can in a ramshackle home. Though it has romantic lyrics about making love ’neath the moon and the stars, the track’s emotional zenith may be trumpeter JP Carter’s (Inhabitants, Fond of Tigers) slow-burning and reverb-slathered jazz work.

“If it wasn’t for his deconstructed playing, and his amazing sense, it could’ve sounded cheesy,” Smith notes of Carter’s work. “People hear that song and on several occasions they say it sounds like the soundtrack for Twin Peaks—I thought that was so weird. We’ve joked around and used the term dark lounge [for it].”

While generally playing a supporting role on Earning Keep, Carter takes centre stage on instrumental track “New West”, a completely improvised solo piece. Smith wanted the horn player to inject the album with a high-concept soundscape of ambient, loop-pedal-indebted trumpet drones. “I’ll initiate something like that and realize how unconventional it is after the fact,” Smith says of adding a track he didn’t perform on to his album.

Despite the solo billing, the singer gives credit where it’s due. He’s especially fond of the work producer Todd Simko put into the set, which was partially recorded at Simko’s home studio in New Westminster. It’s a bittersweet bit of praise considering the producer passed away earlier this spring, shortly after Earning Keep was completed.

“I had texted Todd [the day he died]. I was second-guessing some of the sounds on the master—a real tool thing—and got no reply,” Smith remembers. “Then I got a phone call from [Boompa Records owner] Rob Calder saying he was dead. It was just days after getting the masters.”

Of Simko, Smith remembers his playfully creative nature, from miking the sound of an amp being kicked over to an aborted attempt at adding thudding timpani to the set. Simko also helped rearrange the album closer “No Light Could Pass Through Me So I Could Have A Shadow”, which started off as an acoustic piece but morphed into a dark and dancey number full of Kid A–grade drum programming, swirling new-age synths, and nervously clicky ticks. It’s a high-water mark on Earning Keep, and maybe even Smith’s still-young career.

“The parts weren’t all there to begin with, so there was a lot of collaboration,” Smith says, crediting the sinisterly funky bass line that drives the song to his fallen friend. “I’d like to think that being one of the last projects he worked on, it was one that he was pumped about and felt like he was part of.” - The Georgia Straight


Earning Keep - 2012
The Beckon Call - 2010
Keepsake - 2009



'Earning Keep' as an album and concept came to be over a three year span. Even as Christopher Smith was recording and touring in support of 2010's 'The Beckon Call', the catalyst of change, a greater departure and band based recording was coming together in the interim.

While 'The Beckon Call' came out of circumstance and felicity, the new album was to be a planned change of course, one of aesthetic renewal. Earning Keep' is an everyday act of survival, as much as working towards an honest paycheque to striving for relation and meaning. Moving towards visceral and tangible departures, the album’s theme speaks of the process as much as the topics at hand. Something solid and grounded among ever-changing circumstance, like a funeral pyre vs. brick and mortar. A cairn in the shadow of cathedrals, the songwriting could earn something beyond a living, and that maybe the underestimation of simplicity that restructuring one's craft was as noble a pursuit as a security and stability.

That restructuring of starting from the base and foundation of ones work plays heavily into 'Earning Keep.' Smith wanted a cohesive sound built off not only simple pop idioms, but as well a more band oriented sound. The songs contrast those lush, texture-based pieces with sparse, minimal piano ballads and harsher, stark noise.

Never one for stagnation, Smith has pursued the presentation of his music to many varied ends. From his early work in traditional singer songwriter methods, to larger, more orchestral based works, the music, both as a live entity and recorded based medium, is in a constant state of flux. Working with strings quartets, horn sections and choral arrangements, it is Smith's desire to challenge and re-interpret his material as for a way to etch out the right fit for the individual song. In many cases, songs were stripped of all recognizable features to end up in an entirely different place than where they began.

'Earning Keeps' resonance lies in its ability to combine the physical essence of the phrase with the many human parallels that run throughout it. It is a work of contrast and ubiquity, where roles subvert and the structure of class and ones pursuit of love and identity there-in fold and envelope each other. It is a means to an end, as the work defines the finished product; they are one in the same, the process honoring the outcome, the journey longing for destination.