The Smooth Maria
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The Smooth Maria

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Alternative Rock


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



"Matt Kanelos & the Smooth Maria: Silent Show"

Classically trained pianist Matt Kanelos has made his living for years on New York City’s jazz circuit, but more recently he picked up the guitar and started singing. The result is his gorgeous, uplifting debut with the Smooth Maria, Silent Show, which features elements of slowcore, jazz and rock. Tales of yearning, sadness and small triumphs slowly unwind on these deliberate, densely textured tracks. Most are five minutes or longer and feature subtle harmonies, airy piano solos and even, on final track “Sing,” a coda borrowing from a Protestant hymn. “You know your image it still stands on my shelf,” he sings on highlight “When You Walk It Makes No Sound.” “You know that I always loved you more than myself, but I couldn’t show you.” Silent Show is the triumphant work of a craft-conscious musician who has quickly found his footing as a singer/songwriter. (Earthling Hello Music) 5 stars out of 5 -

"Matt Kanelos: Hope And An Unexpected Hymn"

August 10, 2009 - Despite the title of Matt Kanelos' debut album with The Smooth Maria, Silent Show, the New York singer-songwriter's music is actually quite rousing. Eventually, anyway: A jazz pianist who only recently taught himself guitar and began singing, Kanelos crafts tunes that sneak up on listeners — that begin harmlessly but ultimately overwhelm with the weight of their poignancy, sorrow and joy. His songs describe sad sacks, doomed love affairs and steady, resilient characters who never give up hope despite long odds.

The subjects of Silent Show's final track, "Sing," are a narrator and his gravely sick friend, who suffers from a disease that has rendered him or her deaf. Though advised to keep his distance, the narrator remains undeterred, insisting that he has "heard being sick heals" and wants to know "just how it feels." Over an increasingly urgent piano melody, Kanelos asks his friend to sing with him from his "brand-new book of church hymns." What follows is a pair of gorgeous renditions of the Protestant doxology, also known as "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow." The first features Kanelos solo, while the second has him backed by a full choir, including band members Joe Adamik, Ben Gallina and Kyle Sanna. The hymn is an unexpected twist: sad, wonderful and devastating. -by Ben Westhoff - NPR's Song of the Day

"Artist of Note: Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria"

The night air is cool in Boston tonight and I’m listening to Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria for the fourth or fifth time tonight.

Music that starts off with a soft piano is always soothing, but there’s something different about Kanelos’ sound, and it may have a lot to do with the occasional breeze the enters the apartment.

It begins with the soft lyric “We’ll start in Babylon…” and continues with a rolling piano melody that slowly builds toward the end when Kanelos is now yelling that same opening line with an entire band backing him.

On multiple listens the song continues to surprise, though it feels completely natural for the song to end up where it does and makes me hungry for more.

“My tears, don’t mean a thing…”

It’s here where the song pushes forward and the sound begins to get louder with Kanelos repeating the opening lyric.

We were tipped off about the band from a friend of group’s, who also stated they will be playing their CD release party tonight at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC at 7pm, where you will most likely hear “Peacock Dance.”

I can’t tell you what the song is about, even after multiple listens, which is probably a good thing. Music that reveals itself too easily is like the one-dimensional date, where there is no mystery to the person and it inevitably ends in you feeling you just wasted three hours listening to someone ramble on about their college days.

This is different and for now I’ll take Kanelos’ advice and start in Babylon. -

"Mag Monday 6"

We then have ‘Peacock Dance‘ (which was emailed to us twice (I missed the first email (Sorry!)))) by Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria. Don’t be put off by the name, this is a stunning, stunning track. Since I suck at making comparisons to similar sounding bands, I’ll just say it’s a slow, piano-driven song accompanied by whisper-quiet strings, distant percussion and it climbs and builds its way up to a fantastic climax. I’m interested in hearing more from this band, they really did take me by surprise and were love at first listen! -

"Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria"

Some relaxing, yet fulfilling music to start your day off, that’s for sure. Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria (out of NYC) has a new album, Silent Show, out April 29 - which from what we’ve heard so far, displays a crisp instrumentative flair with piano as the backbone to the sound, filling out the background with a delicate, classical aura. Kanelos’ voice lends itself to both the weary and the enthused, letting us in on a story as his songs drift in and out of a musical consciousness. The crescendos at the end of these tracks come so effortlessly out of the rest of the song - instead of a forced, loud manner, of which so many artists are guilty.

For those in the NY area, Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria will be playing a CD release show at Le Poisson Rouge on April 29. I highly recommend you check out this budding talent before they explode. Which they will. I know. Also, their influences range from Neil Young to T.S. Eliot to Seinfeld to Sex & The City.

Here’s a couple MP3s off the upcoming CD for your enjoyment. For those who know and appreciate my musical taste…well, let’s just say you have no excuse not to download these tracks. And even if you don’t like my taste (pop. zero) you should check ‘em out. -

"Concert Review: Matt Kanelos at le Poisson Rouge, NYC 4/29/09"

By the time frequent Jenifer Jackson collaborator Matt Kanelos and his band the Smooth Maria hit the stage, the tables had all filled up, depression or no depression, a heartwarming sight. Nice to hear him cut loose on vocals, too, unadorned, casual and unaffected, much like the opening act. Backed by an excellent lead guitarist with a noisy edge as well as a subtle, swinging rhythm section, he alternated between acoustic guitar and piano, playing mostly new songs from the band’s brand-new cd Silent Show. While Americana is his fallback space, many of his songs have an undercurrent alternating between tastefully jazzy complexity and an almost minimalist, purist classical sensibility. The influences combine to create a dreamy yet focused, frequently poignant late summer atmosphere, replete with longing for something that doesn’t always overtly make itself known. Like Jost, Kanelos can be hard to read, all the more reason to listen closely.

The big 6/8 piano ballad Rain evoked early 70s Pink Floyd (circa Obscured by Clouds), hypnotic and eerily edgy, Kanelos going completely rubato as it built to a big crescendo and then subsided to the point where he could step back in without any altercations. The night’s opening number, Abandoned Town reminded of middle-period Wilco with its “we won’t go back, we won’t go” insistence and noisily ringing crescendo of guitar chords. Another number felt like Chet Baker doing southwestern gothic, Kanelos and his lead player taking turns playing off and then on the beat as it wound down at the end. The crowd, quietly attentive to the end, went crazy for an encore and after a wait that didn’t bode well, were rewarded with a nostalgic ballad that Kanelos played solo on piano.

"Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria"

Impossible to remember the reason why my browser landed on the the home page of Matt Kanelos. Actually, it doesn’t matter. I know now why I keep on returning to it: the piano, a strong sense of melody, an undescribable atmosphere which titillates the imagination, opening the door to fabulous mind blowers.

‘When You Walk It Makes No Sound‘, was the first track I had the opportunity to listen. A delicious suspension, scrolling a full year in a short 5 minutes composition : absolutely gorgeous. It was enough for me already to get addicted. It reminds me of one of those sweet Paolo Conte favourites of mine, floating between folk & jazz. A captivating melody that could simply convert a raging bull into a sweet ballerina…

Then was the time for a second track from this unreleased opus : ‘Peacock Dance‘. It starts like what could have been a Bach Piano partition - or a Chopin Etude - , but then Matt’s sweet voice comes to the front: “We’ll stop in Babylon…” : Absolutely stunning ! And so it goes on for the next song ‘Dying Star’

It took only a couple of minutes to download his first EP ‘Children Love to Dance’ at, which was already released in 2005, but the time it will take to be sated by this very short collection seems infinite. Time appears to be standing still in the musical universe created by Matt Kanelos. So, if we need to wait untill next February for his new opus to be released… there’s no hurry really. -


Silent Show - 2009



A Chicago native, Matt Kanelos studied classical and jazz piano at Chicago Musical College before moving to New York City. He developed his songwriting concept while studying creative writing at the City College of New York. Matt's lyrical stylings and minimalist musical aesthetic bring to mind influences like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Will Oldham, Cat Power. Performing regularly in New York, as well as Chicago, Boston, and Seattle, he has collaborated with Noe Venable, Noam Weinstein, Rose Polenzani, Jenifer Jackson, Jodi Shaw, Serena Jost, Richard McGraw, Sam Kenny, Roland Satterwhite, and Jason Liebman as well as members of Califone and Elysian Fields.

In 2008, Matt formed the band The Smooth Maria with Ben Gallina, Conor Meehan, and Kyle Sanna. The Smooth Maria have attracted a dedicated audience in New York City with their unique balance of refined musicianship and vivid poetry. They perform frequently at acclaimed New York music venues like the Living Room, the Rockwood Music Hall, Union Pool, and Le Poisson Rouge. Their first full-length CD, “Silent Show,” was released in May of 2009.

The Smooth Maria's music was featured recently on ABC's Private Practice.