Shevy Smith
Gig Seeker Pro

Shevy Smith

Topanga, California, United States

Topanga, California, United States
Band Rock Americana




"Chatting With Kris Kristofferson and Shevy Smith's Video Exclusive- Huffington Post"


Filmed in Brooklyn by way of Southern California, "Rocket Fuel" is off Shevy Smith's Ad Astra record, which was released this May. Ad Astra was named after the motto of Shevy's home state of Kansas meaning "to the stars through difficulty," and is an album that reconciles all of Smith's musical passions.

Shevy got her start in music at a very young age as a published songwriter in Nashville, attending what she coins as "the Harvard for songwriters." After growing weary of the Nashville machine, Shevy defiantly left for LA to pursue her own music. Shortly upon arrival in Los Angeles, personal tragedy put her musical pursuits on hold.

Shevy found her way back into music through teaching, establishing Girls With Guitars, a school with a cirricullum that teaches theory intermingled with songwriting. Teaching these young women inspired Shevy to get back into writing and the result was Ad Astra. The album, was recorded by Shevy and her producer husband in their Topanga Canyon studio and drips with the rich natural essence and musical history of the area. - The Huffington Post

"Shevy Smith Video Premier- PACSUN Golden State of Mind Blog"

June 8, 2012 | MUSIC

Recorded and filmed at her Topanga Canyon studio, the song Narrow in the North is off of Shevy Smith's Ad Astra record which was released this May. Ad Astra which was named after the state motto of Shevy's home state of Kansas meaning " to the stars through difficulty" is an album that reconciles all of Smith's musical passions into a taut set of free-flowing melodic nuggets. There's the rough-and-tumble backroads-honesty of Lucinda Williams; Tom Petty's down-home rock vibe; Bonnie Raitt's blues-drenched womanly grit. "Narrow in the North" finds Smith at her most free-form, throwing caution to the wind and evading standard song structure. Shevy got her start in music at a very young age as a published songwriter in Nashville, attending what she coins as "the Harvard for songwriters."

After growing weary of the Nashville machine, Shevy defiantly left for LA to pursue her own music. Shortly upon arrival in Los Angeles, personal tragedy cut her career short. Shevy found her way back into music through teaching and established Girls With Guitars. A school with a cirricullum that teaches theory intermingled with songwriting. Teaching these young women inspired Shevy to get back into writing and the result was Ad Astra. The album, also recorded by Shevy and her producer husband in their Topanga Canyon studio and drips with the rich natural essence and musical history of the area (a la Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash etc.). - PACSUN- Golden State of Mind

"Shevy Smith Takes Control with Ad Astra"

The CT Interview: Shevy Smith Takes Control with ‘Ad Astra’
April 17, 2012
By Michael Sandler
Technically, Ad Astra is singer-songwriter Shevy Smith’s third album. She previously recorded two albums while living and working in Nashville, and by her own account, these releases were more commercial than Ad Astra, which will be released May 1. The new record is different.

“This record is truly what I want,” Smith, 28, said in an interview with Cultural Transmogrifier.

The album’s lead single, “Shine,” displays Smith’s engaging vocal style. Sung over an acoustic guitar, her voice starts off delicate and restrained. However, after the song’s breakdown, Smith kicks it into high gear and unleashes a big voice that’s sure to go places.


It has been a long journey for Smith. Born in Haven, Kansas and raised on a farm, she began learning to play the piano at the age of 4, as she was learning to read. Smith said that she wasn’t a virtuoso; playing piano was just something that she enjoyed.

Then something else entered Smith’s life: the radio. It was then that she was exposed to artists like Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Smith said that she remembers hearing Harris and Ronstadt, then riding miles away on one of her family’s horses. “I would rock out on horseback, and sing at the top of my lungs,” she said. “I was young enough to not know inhibitions.”

Smith’s interest in music continued to grow, and she started playing guitar at 11. During her high school years, she made trips to New York City and Nashville to meet with songwriters; Smith seemed to be on her way to a career playing music, but not everyone was pleased. Smith’s choir teacher didn’t want her playing pop music and forced her to make a choice: her music or choir. Smith chose her music – and was promptly kicked out of choir.

But her school choir’s loss turned out to be Nashville’s gain. Smith headed to Nashville after high school to be a songwriter. In Nashville, Smith learned how much discipline it takes to work for a publishing company. Smith said that in instances where she was teamed with another writer, she would go into a session with pieces of songs. Only the best ideas would be kept, and Smith said a song would be written in three hours.

“The efficiency was pretty mind-blowing,” said Smith.

Some veteran songwriters in Nashville took Smith under their wing and even allowed her to watch them create demos, and Smith said that she learned a lot from observing. It was also during that time Smith started touring the country and playing her own music for about 200 college towns per year.

But as beneficial as her Nashville experience was, Smith wanted more artistic freedom. “I woke up one day and decided I wanted to do my art. And if that meant not writing a big country hit, I was okay with that,” she said.

So Smith headed for Topanga Canyon, California in March of 2008. “I wanted to breathe the air that gave us Joni Mitchell and Neil Young,” she said. A “girl on fire” when she arrived, Smith quickly put together a band and met her future husband, Mike Bucher (he co-produced Ad Astra with Smith); Smith was newly inspired. “Anything can happen, and there are no rules,” she said of California.

But in an instant, Smith’s life changed. She was physically attacked outside a laundromat on Sunset Boulevard, and her career stopped. “I was really depressed,” Smith said of that period. “I didn’t want to be heard or seen.” Touring the country had helped Smith foster an aura of invincibility. But this aura was now gone, as was her desire to create music.

However, Smith would get back her desire. After the attack, Smith started giving guitar lessons to young girls. Seeing her students’ excitement as they learned the instrument inspired Smith. “My pilot light got lit, and it became fun again,” she said.


“Truckee” by Shevy Smith (In My Backyard, Topanga Canyon) from Philip Douglas on Vimeo.

So Smith and B - Cultural Transmogrifier Magazine

"Artist Spotlight: Shevy Smith"

Published on April 17th, 2012

Last night, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Shevy Smith, a female singer-songwriter from Kansas who now calls LA home. The conversation was in anticipation of her upcoming album “Ad Astra” out May 1. Shevy was warm and welcoming, making the conversation feel like reminiscing with an old friend and much less like an interview. She was excited to talk about music and life and her enthusiasm was infectious.

Shevy, a Kansas native, was “discovered” at a young age and, after high school, she moved to Nashville to pursue her music career. It was more difficult than she imagined. Working in the old model of the music industry (get discovered, have someone put up the money for you to record, record what they want, get famous), she “constantly felt like [she] was butting her head against the wall.” People who support you have a say and it’s often hard to find the balance between staying true to yourself and doing what your supporters want. This is one of the reasons that Shevy moved to LA and why we’re finally seeing her third album years later. This is technically Shevy’s third album, the previous two being released in Nashville, but it feels like a fresh start and a new beginning for her.

Speaking of the album, “Ad Astra” is due out May 1 and it’s full of honest songs that are hard to pin down to a genre, which is a good thing. It’s an organic album that sounds and feels honest. “This record, there’s nothing on it that I didn’t mean to have on it. This is the first record that what ended up on it was on me. There was no one saying this needs to be 15 seconds shorter or whatever. It really feels like the first 100 meters of the next mile I’m gonna run…This is the first record of mine I can listen to,” says Shevy. Just because this is her first album doesn’t mean that Shevy hasn’t been busy. She currently producing, which allows her to “flex her pop muscles”, and she has also started Girls with Guitars, an organization with multiple locations in Southern California that teaches young girls to play guitar.

The conversation we had about music showed the kind of person the Shevy has become. “If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s don’t think you can manipulate people into feeling what you want. They can see through the crap.” It’s that mentality that really makes the album sound authentic and real. It’s nothing that’s breaking the mold, but that was never the goal. The goal was to create. “We weren’t even meaning to make a full deal. We were gonna sit down and do a vocal and guitar album and then it became ‘let’s add this. Let’s add that.’” It’s a layered album, one that adds more and more on every listen.

Here’s a live version of “Moccasin Feet” off the new album:

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the conversation was the discussion about the songwriting process. What we typically think of as one of the most interesting parts of the music, it’s also one of the most difficult parts to nail down. Shevy discussed the creative process for her, “At the risk of sounding super psychedelic about things, if I’m just quiet and I’m not thinking about it and don’t over think things, somehow songs just get placed in my head. I don’t know how it happens, it just happens.” While it was kind of a non-answer, it was probably the most honest one we’ve heard. It’s definitely better than someone saying, “it’s different every time.” Shevy discussed the process of writing a song on the album called “Chemical Church”, a heavy song with heavy guitars that’s probably the darkest on the album. It was never a song she wanted to write, in fact, she claimed it was a song that she didn’t want to write. “It sounds weird and maybe trite to say it, but I don’t remember writing that song. I remember it didn’t exist and then it did exist. It just kind of pours out and, in that moment, if you can keep yourself out of your own head and keep that editor out, there’s this magical thing you’re swept up in. - Ear to the Ground Music

"Shevy Smith- Lady of the Canyon"

Shevy Smith: Lady Of The Canyon
by Rich Thomas and Catie Laffoon
April 6, 2012 - 10:08 am

Ad astra per aspera. Translated it means “to the stars, through difficulty,” and if you were born and raised in Kansas—where the Latin phrase is emblazoned around the perimeter of the state seal—you know the words well. For Shevy Smith, it’s become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the stars have seemed just out of reach for maybe a bit too long. A professional, published songwriter since the age of 14 and a graduate of Nashville’s musical academy of hard knocks, Smith has logged tens of thousands of miles on her truck and played more coffee houses in more US towns than most musicians twice her age. It’s fitting that she’s titled her latest full-length after the motto she’s become so familiar with.

Produced with her husband, Mike Bucher, Ad Astra features 13 songs that showcase the songwriting skills of someone who’s not only lived her lyrics, but persevered through their challenges. “Chemical Church” is a powerful pop ballad steeped in that classic Nashville style, while a track like “Narrow In The North” features just enough backsliding guitar and vocal processing to keep it off the straight and narrow. Then there’s the big time rock out on the title track, along with the Sunday drive bliss of “Truckee,” a live performance of which you can check out after the jump.

We put out a long distance call to Topanga Canyon—a noted California locale that so many famed West Coast singer/songwriters have called home —to talk with Smith about her new record, the “Girls With Guitars” program she developed, and what it’s like to wake up every morning next to your producer.

There’s something about the canyon that really resonates with musicians, now and in the past. It’s not like a lot of dubstep producers or punk rockers move there. It’s very singer/songwriter. What is it about that location that unlocks a creative side of you?

Shevy Smith: Several things. First of all, just the space. I grew up in central Kansas where there were fields and wide open spaces, and it felt like there was enough room to have my voice get as big as I wanted it to get. In the previous places I’d lived, it felt like if I got too big creatively, it was bothering somebody or infringing on somebody’s peace and quiet. In Topanga, I don’t feel that. We’re able to play drums anytime we want and I can sing at the top of my lungs. Everybody expects you to express yourself creatively up here, so I think there’s a freedom that inherently comes with celebration of expression. The other thing is there are trails everywhere and you can wander around. For me, that’s really when I’m able to write. The really magical stuff happens in the in between times when you’re on a hike and somehow a song just magically is placed in your mind. You just feel close to the heavens.

People talk about the record industry being rough in LA, but the industry in Nashville makes everywhere else look like a cakewalk. Having experienced both worlds, how do you think Nashville might have soured you to a career in music, and how did it help?

Shevy Smith: I have no negative thoughts about Nashville as a whole because it’s so excellent at what it does. I consider it the Harvard of songwriting. You go there and you have to get good fast or else nobody calls you. There’s a certain level you have to be at to be in the game. I loved that part of it. Most people there are striving to be truly excellent, not just have a great image. That being said, the country music industry itself is a very tricky machine. You either fit in the machine or you don’t, and if you don’t, it’s a nightmare. I wasn’t the perfect fit for that mold, so it was really a struggle. Looking back, I’m grateful for the education. I’m grateful for the musicianship and mentoring, but I’m really glad I got away from it when I did.

What was it like working with your husband on this record. He’s got his own musical hist - Chinashop Magazine


Ad Astra (2012) VivDog Records



From the waves and canyons of California, Shevy Smith's unique brand of lyric-driven rock has found resonance at hundreds of colleges throughout the US. A Kansas childhood coupled with a Tennessee coming-of-age, eventually led her to her version of the promised land. Topanga, California- a place where the locals speak of Neil Young as a neighbor and where the 60's never really came to an end. Shevy's music evokes echoes of Tom Petty, shades of Rilo Kiley, and evidence of Patty Griffin... the type of tunes that beg to be played on a vinyl turntable so as to hear every nuance.

Shevy just released her third album, "Ad Astra", a driving set that speaks of resilience and defiance. She has been awarded Campus Activities Magazine's award for Female Performer of The Year and is consistently touring throughout the US.