Gunner & Smith
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Gunner & Smith

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE | AFM

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Folk Americana




"Saskatoon band Gunner and Smith explore dark indie folk sound on debut album"

Geoff Smith appreciates the bleaker side of beauty.

His Saskatoon band Gunner and Smith released their first full-length album, He Once Was a Good Man, on Feb. 25 and it brings their soulful yet forlorn sound to new heights.

“Something doesn’t need to be colourful and happy and bright. It can still be very beautiful and interesting and I think that’s something the Prairies have going for them,” Smith told Metro.

“I tend to enjoy aspects of the winter.” He added that Gunner and Smith were able to open up their music in part due to help from producer and fellow Saskatoon native Ryan Boldt, who plays guitar and sings in the Deep Dark Woods.

“They’re one of those bands that a lot of the guys in our band have been listening to for a long time. We really respect what they do,” said Smith.

Boldt also performed on the album and his winding licks add texture to songs such as Drifting and Towns.

Another reason for He Once Was a Good Man’s overall consistency is that while the five members work together on individual parts, the songwriting remains largely Smith’s vision.

And the stories he draws from are often dark, featuring desperate people thrown into situations beyond their control.

The gritty AMC Western series, Hell on Wheels, provided some inspiration for the title track. “It has a lot of violence and a lot of revenge, some pretty good characters stuck in some pretty frustrating situations,” said Smith.

But there’s also a personal element: Smith said that a central theme of the record is one of self-reflection about “the unpredictability of where life is going to take you.”

Catch the show

Gunner and Smith are now on tour through Western Canada, which will culminate with three Saskatchewan shows including Regina on March 7 at the Artful Dodger and Saskatoon on March 8 at Amigos Cantina. - Metro

"Song of the Day: Towns by Gunner & Smith Posted by JB 1 day ago"

I had a chat with Geoff Smith of Gunner & Smith while they were in Edmonton yesterday, on the second day of tour! They’ll be headed over the Rockies later this week and end up in Vancouver on Sunday to play the Railway Club. Although they’ve only ever played one show in Vancouver, I actually happened to be there, since they were opening for Mike Edel who I try to catch as often as I can. I have fond memories of the music of G&S live, and their EP Compromise is a Loaded Gun was the perfect soundtrack to driving across Montana this summer. Their full length He Once Was A Good Man came out 2 days ago, and is available to stream on Soundcloud! Check it out and hope to see you on Sunday! -Jess - Vancouver Music Review

"He Once Was a Good Man"

The presence of Ryan Boldt in the producer’s chair for He Once Was A Good Man, the debut full-length album from Gunner and Smith, caught our attention, as he’s the mainman of ace folk-rockers Deep Dark Woods. Fans of that band will find plenty to value here, as G and S have a similar penchant for melancholy and moodily atmospheric material (all the songs are written by singer Geoffrey Smith). Gunner and Smith began as a solo project for Smith, but after two previous EPs, they’ve solidified as a full and rich-sounding band. They recently showcased at Folk Alliance and are now on a western tour. Go here for dates.
Kerry Doole - New Canadian Music

"a Broad Experience: Gunner and Smith explore new musical territory with “River Of Stone”"

by Alex J MacPherson

Evolution does not trace a tidy arc. It happens in fits
and starts, long periods of inactivity punctuated by moments of frantic change. This is the story of Gunner and Smith, an alt-country band from Saskatoon. In just over three years, Gunner and Smith has been transformed from a singer with a backing band to a fully real- ized musical project, where feel is everything and ego is meaningless.
“It started out as a solo project,” explains Geoff Smith, who plays gui- tar and shares vocal duties with Olya Kutsiuruba. “The first set of songs
was really something that developed around me being the focal point. As time went on we developed a bit more of the dual vocal aspect. And also in termsofthestructureofthesongs, and being more drum heavy and the guitar work being more intricate.”
Smith attributes the shift to harmony-laden country in the style pioneered by Gram Parsons and re-engineered by Uncle Tupelo to dozens of live performances. Playing shows allowed Gunner and Smith to transform the material on their early EPs, which were conceived as sparse
acoustic songs, into much broader musical experiences. This is evident on “River of Stone,” the band’s latest single, which hints at the scope of the band’s forthcoming full-length album.
“I’d always wanted to work with a band, but I hadn’t been able to find the right people,” Smith says, adding that the group — which also includes Nick Dueck,JordanBechtel,LanceBrown, and Tyson Goodyear — came together organically. “It just snowballed: I started out working with Nick, and we slowly added pieces until we had the five-piece going on. It wasn’t some- thing I had planned, but everybody filled the need that we had.”
“River of Stone” is a moving alt- country ballad which casts a guitar lick reminiscent of “(Ghost) Riders In
The Sky” against a haunting violin line before Smith’s sonorous baritone wends its way into the mix. Kutsiuru- ba’s airy alto adds yet another layer to the tapestry of sound, which is at once relaxed and driving — the unmistak- able sign of first-class playing.
Gunner and Smith have come a long way in the year since their second EP,CompromiseIsALoadedGun,was released. And they are planning to spend the summer holed up, writing and rehearsing a new batch of songs that are sure to capture the feeling of “River of Stone” — while launching the band to even greater heights.
Gunner and Smith
May 31 @ Vangelis $8 @ the door - Verb Magazine

"Smith sets reluctance aside to evolve into a frontman"

Smith sets reluctance aside to evolve into a frontman

By Barbara Woolsey, for the Leader-Post March 6, 2014

REGINA — Geoff Smith didn’t set out to become a frontman. He always fancied himself as more of a lead guitarist, being kind of shy. But four years after starting a solo folk project, the Saskatoon native is now heading up a five-member indie rock and country ensemble called Gunner and Smith.
“When I started, I just thought it would be too much work trying to deal with a band,” said the vocalist and guitarist. “But this is a group of people who are creative and want to come up with things, so they are able to make my songs much better than what I would be able to do.”
Now with a female singer and even keyboards in the mix, it’s certainly a lot different than Smith’s original vision — but he says the sound is finally on point, “traditional folk songs, with an element of alternative country and psychedelic, Grateful Dead influence.” Just last month, Gunner and Smith just came out with its first full — length album, He Once Was A Good Man.
It was recorded in a studio above Amigo’s, one of the band’s main stomping grounds in Saskatoon, but that didn’t make the pressure of a debut record any less. Gunner and Smith had only done two EPs beforehand, and this time they were teaming up with a new producer: the Deep Dark Wood’s singer Ryan Boldt.
“I didn’t really have jitters, but I know some of the band did,” said Smith. “But Ryan’s not somebody who wants to completely take control and order people around, so it never became too nerve-wracking. It set the rest of us at ease very quickly.”
In the studio, the band hit its mark by doing live takes off the floor, instead of recording drums, bass and so on separately, explained Smith. And even though He Once Was A Good Man is freshly pressed, he’s already thinking about the next time around.
“Working in the studio is such a short period of time, so you never get perfection,” he said. “We just spent so much time learning from Ryan and he’s given us so many ideas. I want to take the process further.”
The singer-songwriter isn’t working on new material yet, but focused on the road. After wrapping up the Western Canada tour, including gigs at Regina’s Artful Dodger and Saskatoon’s Amigos, the frontman is playing solo across the East.
“I was in Kansas City for Folk Alliance so I came back … grabbed some laundry and it’s back on the road the next morning,” said Smith. “We’re doing three shows in three nights, so there isn’t a lot of time to sit back and relax or even think.”
But the aspiring musician doesn’t seem to mind. He also works as a youth care worker at a group home in Saskatoon, but would love to do make a career out music. With Gunner and Smith slated to play a full round of festivals this summer (a performance at Toronto’s North by Northeast has just been confirmed), its clear Smith is doing everything he can to make it happen.
“We love playing locally, but we don’t want it to just be that,” said Smith. “The goal is to try and get the music out as far as we can.”
Gunner and Smith
March 7
The Artful Dodger
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post - The Regina Leader-Post

"Canadian Music Corner: Ron Sexsmith & Gunner and Smith"

Firing off from Saskatoon, Sask., Gunner and Smith is a five-piece folk group created out of what was originally a solo folk act in lead singer and guitar man Geoff Smith.

Formed in 2010, the group released Compromise is a Loaded Gun on Aug. 3, 2012, a six-song EP featuring “Strength of My Fathers.”

The sound projected by the band is a bluesy-folk fusion. That being said, Gunner and Smith still works in some electric guitar for a heavier sound on tracks such as “Send Me Out.”

“Send me out to find a way to prove my worth, show my strength,” cries Smith on the opening track, “Take my name and set it free. Cry not for them, cry not for me, cry for yourself to be at peace.”

Prior to 2012's Compromise is a Loaded Gun, the group released an earlier EP, Letter of Marque in November 2011.

Gunner and Smith put on an energetic and lively stage performance, having just completed a short fall tour that featured the band’s first shows in Alberta. Apart from three shows in hometown Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan folksters also rocked stages in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Moose Jaw.

For a classic folk sound, make sure you give “Two Gun Blues” a listen as Gunner and Smith incorporate the banjo, an always pleasant addition to any great folk track.

By: Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor - The Omega

"Gunner & Smith – He Was Once A Good Man"

Wind whips across the icy prairie in the silence between stories on Gunner & Smith’s debut full length. In the narrative tradition that flows, beneath frozen rivers, from Robert Service to the Deep Dark Woods’ Ryan Boldt (who serves as producer here) and back up countless tributaries, Geoffrey Smith & Co lay out ten tales full of cold cabins, loaded guns, and heart-ache. While looking, unflinching, at the bleak melancholy of a neverending winter, Gunner & Smith still find the flash and spark that make life worth celebrating. While there are no outright barn-burners here, “Open Door” is bound to flood the dancefloor of any worthwhile honky tonk and “River of Stone” opens with a Sadies-like riff before unfolding into a hootenanny ready duet. Boldt’s influence is subtle, giving the songs room to breathe, as in the brooding “Nothing That’s Mine,” though his touch can certainly be felt on the slow burning lead guitar tones throughout. Overall, a powerful debut from yet another band that’s bound to put Saskatoon on the musical map. Would love to check these folks out live, either inside the cramped walls of the Times or out beneath some summer stars. (Independent, Sheldon Birnie - Stylus Magazine

"A perfect mix for Gunner & Smith"

A perfect mix for Gunner & Smith

By Stephanie McKay, The Starphoenix March 6, 2014

When Gunner & Smith entered the studio to record its debut album, the band arrived with a patchwork of old and new songs.
Songwriter Geoff Smith hadn't even played some of them for the band before. After long hours in the studio, the music - new and old alike - came together seamlessly in theme and sound. "It was a pleasant surprise," Smith said with a laugh. "The album came out a lot different than what we had planned going in, but I'm much happier with how it turned out."
Smith - who started Gunner & Smith in 2010 as a solo project - received a Saskatchewan Arts Board independent artist grant to do some writing leading up to the recording, which lightened the financial load and helped him stay focused on the work. By recording time, the band had plenty of songs to choose from.
The album was recorded at the Avenue Recording Studio in summer 2013, with engineers Jordan Smith and Scott Neufeld (who worked on Gunner & Smith's early recordings). Ryan Boldt from the Deep Dark Woods took on the role of producer.
The session had the perfect mix of planning and spontaneity. The band had never played the album's lead track, Ease My Mind, before going to the studio. It was recorded the same night the members heard it for the first time.
"We got the first good take in the studio, which is always interesting, rather than have that clean, polished version. We got that moment where we got it right for the first time and that's what you get on the album," said Smith. "I think that makes it a little looser and a little more live sounding, which is what I really wanted from the recording."
The album's first single Towns completely changed direction during recording, from a more solo song to something more band-oriented. Smith and the band were willing to be flexible with the music, particularly because they knew they could trust Boldt's input. He was very involved as a producer, even contributing guitar parts to Ease My Mind.
"The toughest thing about getting a producer is realizing you're getting someone to be your boss for two weeks. You're hiring someone to tell you what to do. If you hire that person and you fight them on everything, you're not really getting the best use of your time and money, so you've got to choose someone you trust," said Smith. "Luckily in Ryan's case you have somebody that has proven over and over that he's capable of making those decisions. That made it a lot easier for me."
He Once Was A Good Man - which follows the Saskatoon band's EPs Letter of Marque and Compromise is a Loaded Gun - might just be the perfect soundtrack for winter in Saskatchewan. The mellow mix of folk, country and rock perfectly captures the hearty nature of Prairie inhabitants and the occasional desire to leave it all behind in favour of something warmer.
Though it wasn't his intent going in to create a Prairie sound, Smith said he probably didn't have that much control over what came out.
"I do a lot of my writing in fall and winter. When you're stuck inside and you don't really feel like going out it's a lot easier to write. The environment always plays a part in how you do things unless you try really hard to counter that somehow," he said.
The lyrics come from a personal place, but Smith likes storytelling so can explore the extremes of those emotions.
Though the band influences the sound of the songs, Smith still writes them so they're able to stand as solo pieces. That skill comes in handy when it's just Smith on the road. He toured Eastern Canada solo in the fall and will again in May.
In addition to recent dates across Western Canada, Gunner & Smith also played the Folk Alliance International in Missouri in February. The band had a 25-minute showcase to share its music. The group also landed a spot at NXNE in June. The band comes home to Amigos on Saturday.
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix - The StarPhoenix

"Music: Gunner and Smith"

With the Fringe kicking off this weekend in Saskatoon, why not spend your Friday evening at Lydia's with Gunner and Smith?

Gunner and Smith have evolved from a one man operation to a full band still fronted by the bearded wonder Geoff Smith. Their sound is rich and full of pleasing harmonies with just enough grit to get you out of your seat to groove to their rock-folk style.

2012 has been a big year for the band, playing many shows around Saskatoon as well as an upcoming show in Regina at Bushwakkers on August 15.

Come out and support one of the best up and coming bands in Saskatoon this Friday at Lydias (w/Pirate Fridays and High Waisted) as well as a headlining show at Amigo's on August 11. Compromise is a Loaded Gun is the band's second EP and will be available Friday at the show as well as on iTunes. - Hello Saskatoon

"Saskatoon folk band drop their second hard-hitting EP"

Saskatoon’s Gunner & Smith, a five-piece country-tinged folk group, have recently released their second EP entitled Compromise is a Loaded Gun.

The EP is a follow-up to the group’s previous release Letter of Marque, which was released last year.

Having evolved from front man Geoff Smith’s one-man vision, Gunner & Smith carry a full, hard-hitting sound that is both expansive and lush. On the group’s debut single “Strength of My Fathers”, the quintet roll into a dramatic story of relationships and longing with appropriately soaring male/female vocal harmonies.

The structures are fairly straight-forward, but the instrumentation is interesting and well-executed while the vocals smoothly propel the songs forward. Thankfully the group cranks the gain up every now and then, giving their songs a pleasing amount of heft and bite.

Gunner & Smith are playing at Lydia’s on Friday, August 3 alongside Pirate Fridays and High Waisted. - Ominocity


He Once Was a Good Man - Feb. 2014
River of Stone - Single - 2013
Compromise is a Loaded Gun - EP - 2012
Letter of Marque - EP - 2011



Hope and redemption. Philosophy and folklore. The music of Gunner & Smith has always been a collection of fiery elements, blending searing guitars, brawny rhythms and distinct folk-family vocals to produce tightly-knit rock anthems. But on Byzantium, the group’s second full-length album, the songs simmer and seethe with a newfound brooding energy that looks at the darker sides of love, loss and humanity.

Anchored by the stolid songwriting of frontman Geoff Smith, the ever-shifting nature of the band has once again undergone another evolution, with a talented cadre of musicians joining the frontman at the helm. Featuring an ever-expanding sound that combines indie rock, alt-country and sizzling psych-Americana, Byzantium is borne from a deeper, darker place than the group’s previous material.

Having released his debut full-length album He Once Was a Good Man in 2014, the band has since toured across North America numerous times, traversing across the highways that cut through desolate areas that the frontman drew his inspiration from. Tapping into the mysticism of yesteryear, Smith - who has a Master's Degree in Religious History focused on the Radical Reformation - continues to embrace a number of sly classic rock influences that tendril their way into the group’s core. But on his latest collection of songs, the riffs are somehow tighter, the backing instrumentation more fluid.

Recorded at Sinewave Studios, located 100 km away from the group’s home in Saskatoon, it was here where Gunner & Smith built their recorded sound with gear gathered and borrowed from friends and family scattered across Canada. Surrounded by rural, open plains and dilapidated buildings, the cadre of road-seasoned musicians managed to yield a brawl of gothic country, gritty folk, and cinematic rock. Recorded in a scant two and a half days, Byzantium was overseen by Andrija Tokic of Nashville - the producer behind the Alabama Shakes biggest breakthrough album Boys & Girls. Recording the Gunner & Smith sessions live off the floor straight to analog tape, the resulting sounds are both soft and lush, watermarked with the romance, deeply textured soft melodies, pop hooks and explosive choral climaxes.

Conjured from realms where empire lie in tatters, the story of Byzantium is one of densely layered narratives that weave and wend ominous tales of imaginative and tactile worlds. The album’s namesake, taken from a besieged ancient empire centred in Constantinople—modern  day Istanbul—hints at the endless cycles of war and waste that plague humanity. But while the themes are seemingly grim, the music keeps the mood buoyant. Opening the album with a wry, snakey guitar line, Smith’s oft-dark, meticulous visions are rounded out by balladry and brightly melodic guitar-heavy rock.

Anchored by Smith’s simple-yet-stalwart acoustic guitar, his vocal delivery is nothing less than cathartic on “Hush Now” when he booms in baritone, “Feelings of hatred, I’ve got no room left for you in my heart,” there is a constant taste of sweetness amidst the bleak. Melody is a constant on songs such as the Americana stomp folk-tripper “Wisconsin” or the honeyed bedrock-solid croon of “I Had a Dollar.”

The mainstay signature element of Gunner and Smith identity has always been built by the overriding concepts behind each individual album. Conjuring a literary amalgamation of decay, faith and ambition - whether it’s the uncertainty of modern life, or the constant life shifts of middle age, Smith’s latest offering is one that exists in a barren world where light ultimately shines through.

Band Members