J. Evan Smith

J. Evan Smith


American folk music with nods to rock, pop, and country. Exploring the human side of life in song and always seeking that ray of light through the clouds.


Jerry Smith met Bryan Moore in 1991 while both were teaching young Navy submariners to operate submarine nuclear power plants. Jerry discovered a common love of music and songwriting in Bryan, not to mention an incredible home recording studio. The result was “Come Inside and Play”, a self-released CD in 1993. Jerry and Bryan both decided that nuclear power was not their true calling in life and left the Navy but the musical bond endured.

Half a country separated the two for the next ten years so they played together sporadically at best. Now, however, they’re back with a new collaboration; “Strange Old Roads”. This is a twelve song CD to be released in early 2006 and is a true melding of Jerry’s lyrics with Bryan’s musical abilities.

2006 promises to be a great year for the group. With the addition of Travis Hanna on bass and Tim Frech on drums, J. Evan Smith has moved out of the studio onto the stage in support of “Strange Old Roads”.

Several songs from the new CD have already received recognition including:

Gettin’ Old
Winner, American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest, Jan/Feb 2005
Finalist, VH1’s Song of the Year Contest, June 2005 round

Ride It Out
Finalist, VH1’s Song of the Year Contest, Oct 2005 round

Long Time
Honorable Mention, American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest, Nov/Dec 2005

These are songs about love lost and found, friends holding each other up through good times and bad, mornings after, and nights before. In other words, life. This is folk music. Sit back and enjoy.


Gettin' Old

Written By: J. Evan Smith and Bryan Moore

Sun through the open blind
Fell in my eyes
This room don’t look familiar to me
I wonder why
I stumbled and nearly fell down
When I tried to stand
So I sat there for a little while
With my headache in my hands
I cussed the pain as I looked around
Tried to find my thoughts
With my back bent nearly double
And my stomach clenched in knots
As I kicked some empties to the side
A thought came and touched my soul
Last night I wore a young man’s face
But today I’m gettin’ old

Found my shoes under the bed
My shirt behind the door
Put ‘em on and whispered goodbye
To this girl I’d never seen before
I hoped we had a good time
I was sure she’d understand
And I smiled to think how most things
Never work out like we plan
Then I stepped into the morning
And softly closed the door
I found my car two blocks away
With the keys thrown on the floor
As I drove off, it occurred to me
Something I once was told
When the mornings hurt too bad to stand
That means you’re gettin’ old

I pulled into a small café
And ordered coffee black
I searched my pockets and pulled my last cigarette
From a worn out, crumpled pack
In the smoke I saw a face or two
And some words I might’ve said
I almost slipped into the past
But I crushed it out instead
I guess I must have dozed a bit
The waitress gave a cough
Will that be all sir, yes maam, just the check
I really must be off
For a moment those young eyes looked in mine
And the room turned much too cold
Then it passed, but I guess it’s true
I must be gettin’ old

A Notion

Written By: J. Evan Smith

There's a notion in my head tonight
A memory of you
It's always on these days when I'm feeling pain
When I'm looking at this life I live
And wondering what to do
I'm wishing I could talk to you again

I've loved a lot of women
Called many people friend
I've poured out my heart to kill the fear
Of growing old with nothing left
To keep my spirit young
To ease me of this burden of the years

I've turned back through the pages
Searching for some truth
When I should've turned and looked the other way
I miss you, God, I loved you
More than any girl I held
You helped me through some long and painful days

What's it mean, where are you going
Have you found the truth at last
If I said a prayer would it help
I'd like to know
Guess there's still some things you could teach me
If you could only reach me
You're gone and I can't follow
To a place I cannot go

But I see you in a dream or two
I don't know what you say
Sometimes you smile, then for a while
I hear a guitar play

I sing a song of days long gone
I wonder what it means
Was I happy then or does time wash the pain away
It ain't real, but it's so easy
To live inside the past
Sometimes I'd sell tomorrow if I could stay

There's this notion in my head tonight
Guess it's just some memory
At times like this I always think of you
I wonder if you're doing well
I cry and put myself through hell
But that smile of yours will always see me through

Ride It Out

Written By: J. Evan Smith

Well, you're having trouble coping
You think your point no one can see
But we're not as different inside
As we might appear to be
And I think I know what's troubling you
In this time of stress
The world is closing in on you
Who's going to get you through the mess

You're running through the darkness
Trying to find a home
Well, babe, as long as I'm around
You know you'll never be alone
So when your nights are sleepless
And no one cares it seems
Think of me and I'll be there
To sweeten up your dreams


We're gonna ride it out
Together, you and me
Ride it out together, babe
In the end we'll both be free
Ride it out
It's so clear to see
When the problems of the time set in
Come and ride them out with me

I once had a simple life
It was peaceful, safe and warm
I thought in my tranquility
No one could do me harm
But I've grown older and wiser now
And wisdom has a price
I learned it all my own hard way
I never took no one's advice

That's the reason I can't judge
The things you do or say
But I can sure accept 'em, babe
And you know that's a better way
So come a little closer
Let me show you that it's true
I have some strength inside me now
And I'll share that strength with you


Picture of My Life

Written By: J. Evan Smith

You're a picture of my life; it's all confusion in my mind
Just an endless stream of peaks and valleys, wandering in times
When I was so low I could never hope to see the sun again
Then flying high up through a dream where I could never lose a friend

I've told you many times; don't think that all of them were lies
I held out the tender touch that brought forth all the lover's sighs
And in the morning when I left it was so easy to believe
There would never be regrets; still, it's ourselves that we deceive

I recall when I first kissed you; it was a warm night in the spring
You made me feel I was a man, that's still a feeling to which I cling
It's like some story from a book of tales I heard once as a child
I know the memory's hazed but on darker days, I recall it with a smile

It seems I never asked you, so perhaps I never cared
But with each passing year there's a few new fears and in the morning a longer stare
Into a mirror that never shows me quite what I'd like to see
Just some deeper lines and these eyes that shine with this sad philosophy

Since I saw you last, it's been two years of playing out the game
And from the calls we've made and the letters saved, I see that you have done the same
There's been wedding bells, so why the hell are we living on our own
There's better ways to spend our days than on the wrong end of a phone

Still, we've been through this before with no decisions ever made
Guess it was easier to turn our backs and just walk away
Or maybe run to new horizons, chasing some bright fantasy
I don't know 'bout you, but for me it's true, sometimes I run just to be free

I'm trying to make some sense out of my life
Trying to figure out why I could never keep a wife
Do the questions ever haunt you in the night
Do you cry sometimes in the cold, harsh morning light
Do you blame yourself or the others for the pain
Does age lie upon your shoulder with a heavy rein
I can't help but dwell on missed opportunities
But even so, and even now I still believe

I used to be a quiet romantic with my eyes so dark and frantic
A sage who poured out wisdom with a knowing, careless smile
I could win a woman's heart with lies, for a young man, it's often fun to try
He keeps that mental scoreboard ticking on all the while

Can a woman ever hope to understand
All the motivations that drive a man
I've met a few that thought they knew
And some that probably did
Put it's only for a while
'Cause when you flash that knowing smile
And when you think you're condescending
That's when your fragile grasp is ending
'Cause he'll change or run away just like a kid

So if you're wondering what the song means, guess I'm wondering as well
Why as my body dulls, my wits grow keen, why the world's all gone to hell
There's nothing wrong with growing old, unless you're growing old alone
With no one to hold you in the night and no place to call your home

I didn't mean to bring you down, though of course, I probably did
Still, there's nothing wrong with honesty, nothing wrong with trying to rid yourself
Of all the lies and fallacies, to fall back on love and truth
So if you're tired of seeking answers, if you're wondering where I've been
I've been out here on the same highways as you

Afternoon Song

Written By: J. Evan Smith

Sitting back in the afternoon
Thinking how I'm going to see you soon
Close my eyes, try to dream about
How it would be to have a life without
This sneaking 'round behind closed doors

It's been weighing on my mind these days
To have a night where you don't melt away
In the half light before the dawn
Wonder how can we go on
This way, what can I say

I've been thinking about you and me
Dwelling on this love that others can't see
The wind outside is whipping up hard and wild
It strips away my thoughts, leaves me a child

Ain't it funny how time goes on
You wake up one day, the years are gone
Grasping for the memories
Waves crashing on a distant sea
Where we lay upon the sand

I've been thinking about you and me
Dwelling on this love that others can't see
The wind outside is whipping up hard and wild
It strips away my thoughts, leaves me a child

In the end there's nothing left but this
A fragile moment and one sweet kiss
That's enough to carry through
Brief seconds I spent with you
By my God, I swear it's enough

That's enough when I'm lying here alone
In your love my heart has found a home
When I lay this body down, my soul slips away
When the meaning's lost in time this love will stay

Long Time

Written By: J. Evan Smith

I can see your eyes burning
In the middle of the night
I awaken from this dream I had
And I reach out for the light
I can feel my heart is pounding
Can’t you see my soul’s on fire
I wrap my body ‘round you
Taken away by this desire

Chorus: It’s gonna be a long time
A long time
Until the dawn

The sweat pours like a river
‘Though I’m young my thoughts are old
Were you ever really here at all
I’m alone and the sheets are cold
Colder than this wind that blows
Through my heart, ice in my veins
Hot spike through my head, you’re gone
Still this memory remains


Of course I know it’s over
Of course I will go on
I can play it cool or I can play the fool
It's the same now that you’re gone
When this icy hand grabs my guts and squeezes
It’s useless, girl, to fight
I ride the pain and I go insane
But it’s only for the night



Come Inside & Play: 1993
Strange Old Roads: coming early 2006