Greg Smith & The Broken English
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Greg Smith & The Broken English

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Folk Rock

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"Greg Smith & The Broken English - Spare Me Eliza"

I had the pleasure of spending Saturday with Greg Smith & The Broken English, a folk rock band from NYC. They won the “Your Shot To Rock Competition!” earlier this year with the radio station 101.9RXP, and for part of the prize they got to lay a track where I intern, Machine Shop Studios, working with renowned producer Machine (who has produced Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, Lamb Of God, and many more).

Here is an older version of the song they worked on when I was around. Every member of this band is totally on point with each other and the haunting story of this song is translated perfectly through the band’s tight instrumentation. This melody is going to be stuck in my head for weeks. Check these guys out, and stay tuned for their new track when it comes out.

Greg Smith And The Broken English – Spare Me Eliza - I Heard In


"Greg Smith and The Broken English"

Greg Smith and The Broken English are a folk, rock band from Brooklyn, New York. They have a new album that is going to be out on March 1st, and it is the suggestion of this blog to check it out. This is not the distant, out dated folk sound that many people are used to. This is a band that brings elements in from many places and stirs them up to create an orchestra of depth. In some ways they sound a bit like the Black Crows in some of their slower work. Even though they have a very acoustic structure, the sound does not come off that way. There is definitely a rock feel to the songs, but they remain grounded in a unique style. This is not a band that hasn’t worked for all of what they have. It ‘s easy to hear how this is a true passion, and not just a romantic dream. This is told through the lyrics on the tracks of their new album. It's a feeling that everyone has had at sometime, but Greg Smith and The Broken English have the pure ability to connect to it through song - The Independent Music Scene


"Greg Smith and The Broken English"

The six-song EP Losing Hand is Smith's second release and the first to feature backing vocals from new band member Dayna Gross. Gross' vocals often provide a softer counterpoint to Smith's darker lyrical content in addition to just blending well with his vocals. Musically, most of the songs here are based around acoustic melodies and built up from there to into fully fleshed out moody folk grooves. - A Fifty Cent Lighter & a Whiskey Buzz


"Greg Smith and The Broken English"

The six-song EP Losing Hand is Smith's second release and the first to feature backing vocals from new band member Dayna Gross. Gross' vocals often provide a softer counterpoint to Smith's darker lyrical content in addition to just blending well with his vocals. Musically, most of the songs here are based around acoustic melodies and built up from there to into fully fleshed out moody folk grooves. - A Fifty Cent Lighter & a Whiskey Buzz


"Greg Smith and the Broken English – ‘The Losing Hand EP’"

“The Losing Hand” is the latest release from Greg Smith and his band The Broken English.

They released debut album “Times Like This” in 2010, and this year sees the bands first national tour as they play at SXSW!

”The Losing Hand” is an EP filled with harmonic acoustic folk combined with some suitable lyrics. The songs are made up in a way that makes you both listen to them and let them sum in the background.

The opening track “Spare Me Eliza” is a grower that starts up with a slowly style, and develop as it goes. It also consists of two vocals that complement each other, something you also can hear in the rest of the songs.

The musical ensemble with acoustic guitars, emotional and well written lyrics are what makes this band as good as it is. - Acuvi


"Greg Smith and the Broken English – The Losing Hand (ep)"

(translated from the original Dutch)

Greg has an artistic singer-songwriter talent that brings forward beautiful melodies. Last year's folk rock cd "Time Like These" of Greg Smith and his four piece backing band The Broken English went mostly unnoticed. Now there is the follow up “The Losing Hand”. It deserves a better fate and we hope it'll get noticed.

The EP with six original songs is a pleasant record that strikes the right (acoustic and some electric) chords. It does it's own thing, raw and free of self-centered intellectual bullshit. The recording shines with a pleasure in playing, loose and unforced. The sublime vocals of Greg Smith and newcomer Dayna Gross pull the listener into a world of love and hope. Wonderful songs that get their roots out of folk, rock and country. There is no room for prefabricated emotions on The Losing Hand, only strong melodies with a soul. The raw production that leaves the sound free and accesible deserves a double thumbs up. - Alt Country Forum


"AM New York Picks"

With raw, emotional vocals and a country/acoustic vibe, this band captures audiences from the first chord of its new EP, "The Losing Hand." - AM New York


"Amerikabrev vol. 2"

(Translated from the original Norwegian)
Next up are Greg Smith & The Broken English. Their new EP, "The Losing Hand," came out three weeks ago, on March 8 to be exact. Massachusetts-native Greg Smith has moved to Brooklyn and is taking part in the creative and constantly evolving alternative music scene in that area. Greg Smith and The Broken English have created a mini-album with six strong songs, both musically and lyrically. At times they remind you of one of this blog's favorites, Cory Chisel. The songs are melodic and quite dark in the lyrics, with emphasis on a tough everyday life. There is so much positive energy and talent in this band and it's a highly recommended album. Favorite Tracks: Spare Me Eliza and Wanderin 'Soul. - No Deal Music


"Amerikabrev vol. 2"

(Translated from the original Norwegian)
Next up are Greg Smith & The Broken English. Their new EP, "The Losing Hand," came out three weeks ago, on March 8 to be exact. Massachusetts-native Greg Smith has moved to Brooklyn and is taking part in the creative and constantly evolving alternative music scene in that area. Greg Smith and The Broken English have created a mini-album with six strong songs, both musically and lyrically. At times they remind you of one of this blog's favorites, Cory Chisel. The songs are melodic and quite dark in the lyrics, with emphasis on a tough everyday life. There is so much positive energy and talent in this band and it's a highly recommended album. Favorite Tracks: Spare Me Eliza and Wanderin 'Soul. - No Deal Music


"Greg Smith and The Broken English - The Losing Hand"

Greg Smith and the Broken English's newest e.p. "The Losing Hand" is a really good example of what is so great about music today. So many artists now have the ability to get their music out with being beholden to a major. Leave the pop music to the masses. This is intelligent music that is both well written and performed. Intelligent music for intelligent people.

Greg Smith is a singer-songwriter currently based in Brooklyn who writes songs of struggle and pain that could hardly be described as upbeat, but The Broken English move many of these songs along with strong playing that at times departs from the typical folk singer approach.

The title track is a stand out as is Spare Me Eliza. Good stuff here. - Too Old To Rock & Roll...Too Young To Die


"Greg Smith and The Broken English - The Losing Hand"

Greg Smith and the Broken English's newest e.p. "The Losing Hand" is a really good example of what is so great about music today. So many artists now have the ability to get their music out with being beholden to a major. Leave the pop music to the masses. This is intelligent music that is both well written and performed. Intelligent music for intelligent people.

Greg Smith is a singer-songwriter currently based in Brooklyn who writes songs of struggle and pain that could hardly be described as upbeat, but The Broken English move many of these songs along with strong playing that at times departs from the typical folk singer approach.

The title track is a stand out as is Spare Me Eliza. Good stuff here. - Too Old To Rock & Roll...Too Young To Die


"THE LOSING HAND, by Greg Smith and The Broken English - a review"

If you sit down with THE LOSING HAND, prepare yourself for one lovely dopamine bath. The EP belies the notion that music needs a chamber orchestra and seven synthesizers to be lush and layered. It's at times sparsh and lush simultaneously, which makes no sense at all, but there it is. Greg's voice is rough and warm, and the instrumentation is superb...finding this kind of balance eludes so many artists. This NY band is a current IMA award nominee, in the story song category. I haven't heard them live, something i plan to rectify.

"Spare Me Eliza"
A tale of growth and loss. Eliza (vocals by Dayna Gross) answers Greg's Johnny, from the ruins of love gone dry. But the music is too powerful to be reduced to sadness. It transports you to a place where your eyes close and you can feel it resonate, long after the song is done.

"Losing Hand"
A strolling, boozy lament. I have trouble keeping my percussive hands still when i'm enjoying a song (which is fine at home, but borders on being distracting at a live venue). If you have that problem too, stay away from this one. The hooks are irresistible.

"Hey What's the Use"
A track that's almost too real to be enjoyable, a poetic conversation between a lonely singer in a big city and his mom back on the farm. If you like a little starkness and desperation, this one's for you. The music appropriately takes a back seat to the lyric for a while, but in the final section of the song you can feel the musician's passion go from words to the music that sustains his soul - and it's beautiful, with powerful mother harmonies from Dayna.

"Livin' Like a Joker"
Layered, marching, hypnotic, a perfect song to go mindless to. A much-extended version at a bonfire drum circle would be so nice.

"Ain't That Bad, Just Bein' Sad"
A wistful song with a strange message.

"Wanderin' Soul"
An existentially nihilistic song that even makes ME want to drink. I think Greg wrote this so that the bar owners he plays for would be happy, as patrons call for another round to dull the pain. Very sneaky. - Unboughtsoul


"Smith's Smorgasbord of Sounds"

Songwriter Greg Smith shows off his musical dexterity on his debut CD
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.upagainstthewallmag.com/ISSUE04/GregSmith.htm

Three things dominate Western Massachusetts: farms, pick-ups and mullets. Some believe that it is illegal for any of the radio stations to play anything but classic rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" is required reading in high school English.

Greg Smith grew up in Western Massachusetts, on a farm no less. But don't hold that against him. Just a shade over a quarter century, Smith already has more than 15 years of music experience under his belt, enough time to learn the guitar, bass, piano, drums, harmonica and saxophone. Oh yeah, he also sings and writes his own songs. And no, he doesn't sound like Skynyrd.

While he grew up listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, Smith soon left his small town and developed a taste for more diverse music, such as the melancholy Elliot Smith and country folk artists Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer. He also studied the blues, which helped him develop his vocal stylings. It is no wonder then that he has chosen to title his debut CD A TASTE OF IT ALL.


Greg Smith
and the Broken English
A TASTE OF IT ALL
The disc offers all sides of Smith, yet manages to remain cohesive through Smith's sheer talent. "I like to think of myself as more of a modern day Springsteen meets Cobain, both of which to me are singer songwriter/rockers," says Smith in an amazingly disarming way.

There is a certain character to the CD that pulls it together. Like his idols, Smith sings of striving to reach a better place, and he is correct that he is equally adept at pulling it off with the yearn of Springsteen (complete with blazing harmonicas) and the angst of Cobain. His guitar weeps as readily as it yells.

The title track demonstrates his jangly folk side and is interesting enough to recall the BoDeans in their heyday. The hard-rocking "Vacuum Fate" almost sounds a bit too much like Nirvana in both its sound and tone, but Smith still manages to make the pain and sincerity his own.

Then there's "The Farm." The closing cut is a terrific country-folk number that shows three different people's takes on farm living. It is easily Smith's most personal and moving song on the CD. Just don't say that the song came from his heart. All his songs stem from a different body part.

"The stomach," he says. "I swallow a riff and it stays down there a while fermenting. Then the lyrics are suggested by the melody."

Most people's stomachs enjoy a variety of flavors, but ears are often more discriminatory creatures. Yet Smith remains unfazed about the CD's smorgasbord of sounds. "It's not going to be put out on a major label that wants to assume that this particular person likes this particular sound so this person needs to sound this way all the time. I think people are going to say, 'Here's a guy who likes to rock out and really enjoys all kinds of music.' I think they'll respond to that."

After playing in numerous bands over the years, TASTE is considered Smith's solo project. Yet he put together a band and named them Greg Smith and the Broken English. "With a generic name like Greg Smith, I had to dress it up with something. I had a lot of different ideas and Broken English is the one people seemed to respond to. I liked how 'broken English' isn't really used as a plural term, but when you throw the word 'the' in front of it, it makes the meaning of it more ambiguous, and that's what really turned me on to the name."

An homage to Marianne Faithfull perhaps? Remember, the kid is only 25. "A couple of people mentioned her name to me. I went and Googled 'Broken English' to make sure I wasn't stealing it from her or anything, but then I got distracted by something else and forgot about it."

All right, so maybe he doesn't appreciate true rock royalty as much as he should, but with boyish good looks a la John Mayer, and with a sound as sincere as Mayer's is manufactured, it may only be a matter of time before almost everyone associates Broken English with Smith and Smith alone.

- Al Kaufman, Up Against the Wall


"The Blender Theatre Pours A Few For The Bodog Battle"

Greg Smith and the Broken English crew put it down. Indie rock with a bluesy feel that never lost sight of how to capture a crowd.

http://battle.bodoglife.net/shows/detail.php?id=110

- Bodog Battle


"The Blizzard Can't Stop The Bodog Battle in New York City"

Greg Smith and the Broken English took the first place slot of the night. Their roots were firmly entrenched in the roots of early '90s rock. Their melodies and dynamics made them a contender for the battle.

http://battle.bodoglife.net/shows/detail.php?id=70
- Bodog Battle


"Exclusive Interview with Greg of Greg Smith and the Broken English"

Our Webzine recently spoke to Greg Smith of Greg Smith and The Broken English about Smith's music and his wonderful sound that captures the essence of who Greg Smith is and what he represents musically. Greg spoke openly about why he enjoys making music, who are some of his musical influences, and what drives him and his backing band to push on to make the cool music that they do. Here is what came from that online conversation.

Isaac: Let’s get started with this interview. When and how did you first become interested in music? How long have you been playing music?

Greg: I think it was when I learned my first song on the piano. Actually, it was an organ my late grandmother had and I figured out “Row Row Row your Boat.” I was about eight years old and later that year my parents got me a little Yamaha keyboard for my birthday. I didn’t take lessons but was pretty proficient with sounding out notes and gained the ability to play by ear somewhat. Later I started playing saxophone and drums in the school band. Looking back, for growing up in such a small town, I was fortunate to have such a devoted and inspiring music teacher, Beth Bryant.

From fourth to sixth grade we had a concert band as well as a jazz band where I became a switch hitter playing sax on some tunes and drums on others. I continued playing right through the eighth grade in the school bands till I got my hands on a guitar. The next year I put down the horn and the sticks and joined a rock band. I’ve never turned back.

Isaac: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?

Greg: So, so many, but to focus on the ones that really had the greatest impact, I would say Nirvana, The Beatles and a singer/songwriter named Dave Carter. I got into Nirvana because they were big right at the time I started playing guitar and the songs were really easy to play. I even saw them live, a few months before Cobain died. It was my first concert. It was fucking awesome. I got into The Beatles a couple years later as my ability to play guitar improved. Experiencing each one of their albums was like reading one great novel after another; I couldn’t stop turning the pages or put it down. I totally developed my sense of harmony from listening to those records and also learned like a hundred new guitar chords.

Sometime around the age of 23 I fell in love with the music of Dave Carter. Shockingly he died unexpectedly a couple months after I met and saw him perform. I would describe him as a mystical cowboy. He’s best known for his work as a duet with Tracy Grammer (www.daveandtracy.com). His songs, musically and lyrically, are so deep but so simplistic. He always said that he wrote his songs from dreams he’d had, which is probably why they are so mystifying. If not for him I probably wouldn’t have found a love for good country music, and probably would not have written half the songs on “Times Like These”.

Isaac: What has been the greatest highpoint in your career so far?

Greg: I’d really have to say two things.

1. Finishing “Times Like These.” It’s my first solo album. I’ve recorded a few EP’s and two full-length albums with some earlier bands I was in but I was always one half or one third of the writing force. This one is all me as far as the writing is concerned. My backing band “The Broken English” are fantastic skilled musicians who give me the ability to structure and build songs almost anyway I like. I think we did a great job with what we had, to come out with a record that represents me and won’t be subject to passing stylistic fads. Its kinda folk, kinda rock, and a little bit country.

2. I played a show last summer where after the event was over myself, the band, and many others were camping nearby. I was having a conversation with someone when I noticed a group of people gathered around the campfire were singing one of my songs at the top of their lungs. It was the first time I’d heard people singing my words and melodies, without me being a direct part of it, and it was one of the warmest, most gratifying moments a songwriter could ask for.

Isaac: What has been the greatest disappointment in your career so far? What did you learn from that experience?

Greg: It was probably when we drove seven hours to Virginia to play at this house party that was supposed to have like five hundred people attending and before the party even got started the cops shut it down because the guy collecting money for parking told the police that the money he was collecting was to help pay for all the beer. Needless to say they didn’t have a license to sell beer so the police were not very enthused.

I guess the only thing I learned from this experience was don’t let an idiot collect parking money. And if you do, make sure he knows NOT to tell the police that the money is for beer when you’re throwing a huge party and have no liquor license.

Isaac: What draws you to want to play the type of music that you do?

Gr - Junior's Cave


"Exclusive Interview with Greg of Greg Smith and the Broken English"

Our Webzine recently spoke to Greg Smith of Greg Smith and The Broken English about Smith's music and his wonderful sound that captures the essence of who Greg Smith is and what he represents musically. Greg spoke openly about why he enjoys making music, who are some of his musical influences, and what drives him and his backing band to push on to make the cool music that they do. Here is what came from that online conversation.

Isaac: Let’s get started with this interview. When and how did you first become interested in music? How long have you been playing music?

Greg: I think it was when I learned my first song on the piano. Actually, it was an organ my late grandmother had and I figured out “Row Row Row your Boat.” I was about eight years old and later that year my parents got me a little Yamaha keyboard for my birthday. I didn’t take lessons but was pretty proficient with sounding out notes and gained the ability to play by ear somewhat. Later I started playing saxophone and drums in the school band. Looking back, for growing up in such a small town, I was fortunate to have such a devoted and inspiring music teacher, Beth Bryant.

From fourth to sixth grade we had a concert band as well as a jazz band where I became a switch hitter playing sax on some tunes and drums on others. I continued playing right through the eighth grade in the school bands till I got my hands on a guitar. The next year I put down the horn and the sticks and joined a rock band. I’ve never turned back.

Isaac: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?

Greg: So, so many, but to focus on the ones that really had the greatest impact, I would say Nirvana, The Beatles and a singer/songwriter named Dave Carter. I got into Nirvana because they were big right at the time I started playing guitar and the songs were really easy to play. I even saw them live, a few months before Cobain died. It was my first concert. It was fucking awesome. I got into The Beatles a couple years later as my ability to play guitar improved. Experiencing each one of their albums was like reading one great novel after another; I couldn’t stop turning the pages or put it down. I totally developed my sense of harmony from listening to those records and also learned like a hundred new guitar chords.

Sometime around the age of 23 I fell in love with the music of Dave Carter. Shockingly he died unexpectedly a couple months after I met and saw him perform. I would describe him as a mystical cowboy. He’s best known for his work as a duet with Tracy Grammer (www.daveandtracy.com). His songs, musically and lyrically, are so deep but so simplistic. He always said that he wrote his songs from dreams he’d had, which is probably why they are so mystifying. If not for him I probably wouldn’t have found a love for good country music, and probably would not have written half the songs on “Times Like These”.

Isaac: What has been the greatest highpoint in your career so far?

Greg: I’d really have to say two things.

1. Finishing “Times Like These.” It’s my first solo album. I’ve recorded a few EP’s and two full-length albums with some earlier bands I was in but I was always one half or one third of the writing force. This one is all me as far as the writing is concerned. My backing band “The Broken English” are fantastic skilled musicians who give me the ability to structure and build songs almost anyway I like. I think we did a great job with what we had, to come out with a record that represents me and won’t be subject to passing stylistic fads. Its kinda folk, kinda rock, and a little bit country.

2. I played a show last summer where after the event was over myself, the band, and many others were camping nearby. I was having a conversation with someone when I noticed a group of people gathered around the campfire were singing one of my songs at the top of their lungs. It was the first time I’d heard people singing my words and melodies, without me being a direct part of it, and it was one of the warmest, most gratifying moments a songwriter could ask for.

Isaac: What has been the greatest disappointment in your career so far? What did you learn from that experience?

Greg: It was probably when we drove seven hours to Virginia to play at this house party that was supposed to have like five hundred people attending and before the party even got started the cops shut it down because the guy collecting money for parking told the police that the money he was collecting was to help pay for all the beer. Needless to say they didn’t have a license to sell beer so the police were not very enthused.

I guess the only thing I learned from this experience was don’t let an idiot collect parking money. And if you do, make sure he knows NOT to tell the police that the money is for beer when you’re throwing a huge party and have no liquor license.

Isaac: What draws you to want to play the type of music that you do?

Gr - Junior's Cave


"Fan Reviews"

See what the fans on Amie Street are saying about Greg Smith and the Broken English... - http://amiestreet.com/music/greg-smith-and-the-broken-english/


Discography

Ramblin' Road (2014)

The Losing Hand (2011)

Times Like These (2010)

Photos

Bio

"With raw, emotional vocals and a country/acoustic vibe, this band captures audiences from the first chord of its new EP, "The Losing Hand." - AM New York

"Intelligent music that is both well written and performed" - Too Old To Rock & Roll...Too Young To Die

When Greg Daniel Smith left his home in Western Massachusetts at the age of 24 to take his music to Brooklyn, he brought his experiences growing up on his familys farm and a passion for songwriting. Nearly a decade later of playing and recording, Smith's writing reflects the maturity gained from farm life to life in the big city. Smith and band "The Broken English" release Ramblin Road on April 8, 2014. The album chases the spirit of the 70s country and classic rock anthems Smith learned to play in roadhouse bars in rural New England as a teen with folk and pop flourishes.


Smith fronts the five-piece Brooklyn-based band on guitar and lead vocals and penned all of the material. He is joined by vocalist Dayna Webber, who adds harmony on most tracks, as well as heartfelt lead vocals on the tender love song Little Darlin, and on Hey Whats the Use -- where she voices Smiths mother in a story about the farm he grew up on. Josh Chaplin adds classic rock inspired lead guitar, Jon Callegari bass, and Sean Tuccillo driving percussion. Special guest Stephanie Wells is featured on piano and organ on several tracks.
 
The album was recorded in 2013 at The Bunker Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There are so many great studios in Brooklyn, it was hard to pick just one. We ultimately chose The Bunker because it had every element we were hoping for: great vibe, great vintage equipment, and great people at the helm says Smith. And we loved that they are committed to preserving the art and science of analog recording and mixing. Producers John Davis and Smith tracked and mixed the album in under two weeks with one mix to maintain the bands raw energy.

The albums themes stem from Smiths personal experiencesfrom small town farm country to moving to the Big Apple as a young adult - consequently entering adulthood in the 21st century, echoing the voices and struggles of his generation.

From the politically frustrated Livin Like a Joker to the album opening "Ain't That Bad," Smiths songwriting identifies lifes heartbreak and bitter ironies without losing hope.  The albums core message can perhaps best be found in Drifts Away, where Smith sings, You gotta fill your life with a sense of purpose or stand by while it drifts awaygive a man some hope and youll find him somewhere, where life and love collide."


Greg Smith and The Broken English play regularly at New York City venues including Rockwood Music Hall, The Bowery Electric, and The Knitting Factory and will tour throughout New England and the East Coast in 2014.

Press Contact:
Kimfowler10@gmail.com

Band Members