Jay Smith
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Jay Smith

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | SELF

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Jay Smith"

Halifax rocker Jay Smith might seem familiar to some Maritime music fans from his days with Rock Ranger or as a member of Matt Mays band, and now he's released a great solo album.

His first album features 10 really catchy songs that range from pop rock to alt country. There a sonic, roots rock aspect to his music that is a bit of a blend of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Tom Petty. Each song clocks in around the three-minute mark, but there's a lot of good stuff packed into that short amount of time.

While this is a debut album, the experience he's garnered playing in and with various bands comes out in the quality of the songs. This is a great album, pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

Highlights include: Perfecting Wasting Times, LA Postcard and When The Wheels Slow Down. - Times & Transcript (Moncton) Tue Apr 5 2011 Page: D3

"The busy life of Jay Smith"

Halifax musician Jay Smith certainly has his hands full these days.

Not only is the 32-year-old guitarist a father of two young children, he has a blossoming solo career that is starting to gain momentum, and also plays guitar as a member of Matt Mays band as well as in Matt Epp’s band. And did we neglect to mention that Jay is turning heads as a songwriter in his own right, having written with artists including Jimmy Rankin, Slowcoaster and Gordie Sampson?

The talented musician will be performing a solo set on Thursday evening at the Tide & Boar Pub in Downtown Moncton. Also performing is acclaimed lo-fi rockers Deer Tick while Jay will be pulling double duty, playing a set with Epp as well that evening.

Having got his start with Cape Breton rockers Rock Ranger, Smith joined Mays’ band prior to the recording of Mays’ 2008 effort Terminal Romance. Add in Jay’s performance commitments with Epp and one has to wonder when he can find the time to sneak away to write songs for himself.

“I write all the time,” Jay insists. “There is never a shortage of material.”

In August 2010, Jay released his self-titled debut. The 10 songs contained on the record are primarily guitar-driven rock songs that show that Jay’s solo work hasn’t fallen too far from the tree of his past.

“I have been heavily focused on songwriting for the past six or seven years,” he says. “But making records is so expensive and I just never had the money to do it right. With this record though, I had applied for funding for the record and ended up getting approved which gave me the confidence to finish the project.”

Asked if having the opportunity to write and perform with such a diverse range of bands and musicians ends up influencing his solo work, Jay admits that it is definitely the case.

“I am fortunate enough to know some amazing songwriters and always learn a few new tricks when I play with other artists as well.”

When talk turns towards whether Jay could see himself settling down to become a songwriter for others and leave band life behind, he realistically acknowledges that he is not necessarily “where the action is” for that to be an option.

“I have written songs for other people and some folks have done my stuff which I am all about,” he says. “I helped co-write (Cape Breton jam-rock band) Slowcoaster’s new single ‘BYO Life’ with Steven from the band.

“To write songs for a living though, I think that I would need to move to Nashville or Los Angeles; you really have to be where it is happening. It is a tough industry to get into and I really have no interest in moving anywhere like that.” - Music Nerd (Moncton) Ken Kelly



Geez, it's been almost twenty years since Sloan got going, and spearheaded what became known as the Halifax Pop Explosion. While the semi-Fab Four ready a new disc for this spring, the whole Haligonian hubbub continues unchecked, even though Jay, Chris, Andrew and Patrick blew that pop stand for Toronto back in the '90's. The group's legacy has been a constant flow of power pop, as the boys and girls following in their wake have been inspired by the beauty of the three minute miracle. Without Sloan, we wouldn't have had Thrush Hermit, Plaskett, The Guthries, Matt Mays, Jenn Grant, Wintersleep, I could go on for about 15 paragraphs here. Suffice to say, us Maritimers have been enjoying a lot of beautiful pop for two decades.

Jay Smith is just one of the latest, and he's a hot man in the HMA these days. Ex-Rock Ranger, Kato to May's Green Hornet in El Torpedo, he's even written hits with Gordie Sampson. One of those invaluable sidemen, for the past months he's been slowly moving out on his own, playing lots of gigs and getting his tunes out. Although this self-titled set of ten tracks has been available on-line for a bit, it's now disc-shaped, and ready for consumption as word gets out.

I'm loving this set of guitar-driven heartbreak. Smith's a classic rocker, with electric and acoustic guitars layered up, pretty chords and changes lined up on each tracks, a great band groove, and everything sounding fresh and bright. All the tracks are built from the ground up, with harmonies and guitar lines fattening up the cheery, feel-great melodies. They are never sappy, 'cause the guitars rock, the drummer rolls, and the energy could make a pasty, overweight music reviewer dance (blush). Nominal single Romantic Fool sets the template, with our man admitting his heart-breaking ways, which in the end only hurt himself, over a wash of ringing chords. Have a listen pop-rock fans, you will happily add Smith to your Halifax favourites playlist. - Bob Mersereau


Jay Smith s/t 2010



Jay Smith is an award-winning songwriter and guitar player based in Halifax, NS. Jay first emerged on the East coast music scene as guitar-player and frontman for Rock Ranger who released two critically acclaimed albums. Matt Mays recruited Jay to join his band El Torpedo with whom he recorded the Juno-nominated album 'Terminal Romance'. Jay has played countless shows across North America with Matt Mays & Rock Ranger including support for such acts as Kid Rock, Sam Roberts, Chris Cornell & Blue Rodeo. Jay won 'SOCAN Songwriter of the Year" at the 2009 East Coast Music Awards for co-writing Gordie Sampson's single "We Are Young And So Is The Night".