Josh Smith
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Josh Smith

Pasadena, California, United States | INDIE

Pasadena, California, United States | INDIE
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We caught up with a remarkable young musician at Novel Café in Pasadena last Saturday evening. His name: Josh Smith.
We were alerted to Josh Smith thanks to Novel Café’s owner, Andrew Lo, whose cafe is fast becoming one of the top spots in East Pasadena showcasing live, rare musical talent.
Andrew Lo told us we “had to see” this young musician who is a mere 25 years old “ with a soul of a much, much older musician”, Lo couldn’t have described Smith more accurately .
We were elated with not only his confident presence but his vocal ability and matchless control which defy comparison: He seemed to know instinctively to move away from the mic and yet get the notes across needed to express the emotion .Smith shows significant Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke influences with perhaps some Joe Cocker thrown in for good measure without being restrained as a “cover” musician.
Smith is currently writing for a solo record, as well as producing an ambitious documentary touring the United States as a homeless musician in an effort to draw awareness to and hopefully help “put an end homelessness.” The documentary will involve a small, inconspicuous three person crew hopes to document not only the musical growth of Josh Smith but the reaction people have to homelessness across various states from California to New York.
The project is slated for spring 2011.
The unique musical approach which Smith employs is challenging to describe at best and better really to observe first hand. One music aficionado who has discovered Novel Café’s unique ability to find the best of the best musicians, is Pasadena entrepreneur, Dave G. Peterson. Peterson said quite austerely “ This guy ( Smith) is incredible…you’ve simply got to hear him next time he’s in the café.”
In addition to having a inimitable vocal ability, Smith engages the audience in a gentle manner evoking the confidence of a long lost friend. Last Saturday night Smith’s appeal could only be described as eclectic and thrilling.
Andrew Lo has been booking bands at his popular Café now for some time and seems to have a propensity for finding truly outstanding performers to perform in this intimate setting.
Lo’s passion for music is evident not only in the selection of musicians he books but also the décor. Classic huge images of Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana don the walls of the Café indicating the direction in which Lo wants the place to go.
We first discovered Anita and the Yanks here. A bright Irish lass playing a combination of contemporary and traditional Irish music complete with some extraordinarily talented musicians who play regularly with her including two young violinists Rachel and Leah who We highly recommend you see
Now, back to Joshua Smith: A Nashville, Tennessee native, he began writing songs around the age of 12.
His writing is heavily influenced by his belief in the power of the voice as a tool for global consciousness. After Hurricane Katrina, he moved to the Gulf coast several months. Living in a church, working for, and leading relief teams.
When Josh moved to Los Angeles in the Spring of ‘06, he teamed up with guitarist Stevie Riolo to form Stereofox, a band based in the NoHo arts district, and emerged onto the Hollywood music scene. Riolo’s melodic guitar style and rhythmic emphasis, together with Josh’s vocals and roots influenced songwriting, helped to create the sound that would later be dubbed “Sultry Pop”. As an acoustic act, and also as a trio with Josh doubling on bass and Derek Defields on drums, they began to perform at various LA clubs.
Recently he co-created and continues to coordinate a benefit effort for victims of the May 2010 Floods in and around Nashville called Play it Forward Nashville with manager David Harbaugh and guitarist Stevie Riolo.
For more information on Josh Smith: see: www.musicofjoshsmith.com
On any given Friday or Saturday night ( the musicans start early, around 7pm) you can hear some of the most exciting and talented musicians in Los Angeles County right in East Pasadena.
A local news photographer is planning on doing a series of large black and white images of some of the talent which has graced the small stage at Novel Café including Anita and The Yanks and her talented band. The exhibit will hopefully grace the walls of Noel Café in coming months.
In addition to the music, by the way, Noel Café offers some of the most creative dishes from Chef Jose and friendliest servers Christie and Megan among others who will serve some of the very best wines and beers (many of which are on tap) all with that famous Novel smile!
Novel Café is located at 1713 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena . Call (626) 683-3309 for information and scheduling.

By the way: Don’t Miss Jamie Meyer on Saturday at Novel – This Chap is darn good! We Particulary like his song ” Heaven Isn’t Far Away” where his vocal ability shines.

Tell Andrew Lo that the Pasadena Independent sent you!
- Pasadena Independent Newspaper


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Joshua Smith, a Nashville, TN native, began writing songs at the age of 12.

By 14 he was performing at local area coffee shops and soon began playing guitar and singing in several high school bands. His teenage years were spent playing area high schools, youth groups and church retreats, fairs, festivals, and charity events. At 18 Josh enrolled in Belmont University’s School of Music Business. Despite gaining valuable insight into the business and production side of the industry, the experience at Belmont really served to strengthen his songwriting talents and desires to pursue his efforts as a singer, musician, and performer.

His writing is heavily influenced by his belief in the power of voice as a tool for global awareness. After Hurricane Katrina, he moved to the Gulf coast for 4 months. Living in a church, working for, and leading relief teams there helped him further hone in on the development of his gifts in songwriting and singing. (View pictures of the Gulf Coast and Josh’s move to LA)

When Josh moved to Los Angeles in the Spring of ’06, he quickly teamed up with guitarist Stevie Riolo to form Stereofox, a new band based in the NoHo arts district, emerging onto the music scene with its seductive new sound. Stevie’s melodic guitar style and rhythmic emphasis, together with Josh’s vocals and roots influenced songwriting, helped to create the sound that would later be dubbed “Sultry Pop”. As an acoustic act, and also as a trio with Josh doubling on bass and Derek Defields on drums, they began to perform at various LA clubs.

In August of 2008 a new lineup was formed featuring Hersh Davda on bass and Roberto Cerletti on drums. The band debuted their new live sound with a gig at the trendy Hollywood hot spot “Green Door.” Stereofox mesmerized the capacity crowd and were honored to have the legendary musician/performer Prince sit in with the band. (Stevie graciously handed off his guitar to Prince who jammed to a rendition of the classic Bill Withers tune “Use Me.”

In February 2009 the group finished it’s debut cd “ice the symphony”. Produced by renowned keyboardist Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Seal, Alanis Morissette), and featuring drum guru Gary Novak (Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth, Robben Ford) on several tracks, the cd beautifully captures the Stereofox sound, complete with lush harmonies and layered guitars.

Released independently, and packaged with entirely recycled materials (the group has asked fans to donate used cd jewel cases) “symphony” is available on itunes, amazon, and cdbaby.com.

Josh is also a gifted painter, actor, and writer. He is currently working on his first book about self-realization and awareness. By viewing his talents as a call to action in the spirit of service to others, Josh seeks to guide humanity’s collective attention to the value of helping and healing our common family through art and music.

Recently he co-created and continues to coordinate a benefit effort for victims of the May 2010 Floods in and around Nashville, TN called Play it Forward Nashville with manager David Harbaugh (Green Guitar Picks, D2R Artist Management) and guitarist Stevie Riolo. The effort is an on-going social media engine of support for those affected. Play it Forward’s mission is to continue to support various causes across the globe with the arts, and online, on-going, self-sustainable resources.

Currently, Josh is writing for a highly anticipated solo recording, producing a documentary touring the United States as a homeless musician in an effort to draw awareness to and end homlessness, and continues to coordinate for Play it Forward Nashville. He also is performing live with guitarist Stevie Riolo, as well as with the band, Stereofox. Recently nominated for Best Male Vocal with the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, 2010 has proven to make for a great 2011. Stay tuned on www.hmmawards.com, www.PlayitForwardNashville.com, and on this site for updates.