“At the end of the day I am a storyteller. I write
my stories as songs and most of those stories are
true. I am my music and as long as someone is
listening I will live forever”

CJ Smith Canada – 2008

CJ Smith is a prolific songwriter. He brings a rare talent as a lyricist/storyteller to an eclectic grouping of material that includes love songs, ballads, blues, protest songs, folk songs, adult contemporary and the occasional lighthearted look at life. His voice ranges at will from Don Henley high through to a gravelly Tom Waits low. Smith’s second album “COLD OUTSIDE” featured just 7 songs, but was an eclectic mix of brand new, original material covering a number of different genres including indy/folk/rock & blues. A bonus track was the outstanding ‘Body In The River’. The response to blues numbers on “COLD OUTSIDE” prompted Smith to sit down and write a series of songs for a third album, consisting entirely of new, original blues songs. That album is called “MISSING CHAPTER FROM THE BOOK OF BLUES”, and features some great Australian and international talent including a couple of tracks with the incomparable ‘Jimmy Z’, who plays harmonica and sax with Etta James.

The studio sessions were kept as lo-fi and live as possible and the result is a red hot grouping of songs that includes a little bit of delta, a couple of traditional blues tracks, a couple of blues rock tracks and one very introspective slow blues ballad track titled ‘Suburbia’, which is a rework of song he wrote 2 or 3 years back. The single ‘Other Side of Midnight’ got great airplay.

The second half of 2009 saw Smith’s musical direction change course again and swing almost 180 degrees back to where it all started. He is unconcerned with a song’s genre and will adopt whatever genre and style are best suited for the delivery of the story.

“When I have something to say, the nature of the message determines the style of the song.” He said. “As soon as the idea for a particular story comes into my head, I know instinctively what genre the song will be. I hear it and feel it.” A glance through his extensive catalogue highlights this. The song ‘Clancy’, recognized by the ASA with a special commendation, was written as a title song for an Australian movie soundtrack. The song is overtly Australian country and yet sits amongst a collection of rock, blues, folk, protest, ballads and introspective love songs.

He is currently working on a large group of new songs that are mostly autobiographical. He uses a review panel to determine a song’s value and impact, and the reviews for the first songs have been outstanding. The song ‘Kelly St.’ is a true account of his early life. ‘Peninsular Drive’ and ‘Fortitude Valley’ are down and dirty street scapes straight from the seamier side of town. ‘Monsoon Moon’ is a late night introspective written on his inner city balcony at 3.00am one night after rehearsals. Smith says that song is a snapshot of what was happening at that very moment in time.

Smith has been writing pretty solidly for the past 8-9 months and has enough songs for another 2 or 3 albums., but he is yet to decide how and when to release them, so keep watching this space for news.

Written on June 20th, 2010 & filed under