We had the pleasure of presenting California folk duo Misner & Smith at Dusty Strings a few weeks ago with bluegrass chanteuse Nell Robinson, and they gave a killer performance. Sam Misner's got a great stage presence that's both engaged and humble at the same time. Megan Smith is sweet as pie, and the two compliment each other so well.
Guest Review from Dejah Léger: Misner & Smith's Live at the Freight & Salvage
Remember that golden northern California sound that we all loved in the seventies? I don’t either, because I haven’t heard it in ages. That’s why I felt like I was basking in nostalgic sunshine when I heard Misner & Smith. Listening to their music is like standing in a field of California poppies in a gentle summer breeze. Their tight harmonies and easy-going bass-and-guitar combo is simply kind on the ears. Songwriter Sam Misner lays out ten lovely, fresh songs (the eleventh is written by Megan Smith) on Live at the Freight & Salvage (Freight & Salvage being a coffeehouse located in Berkeley, CA. Of course it is, right?).
While each song is lovely, there are true gems to this album, such as the award-winning “Madeline (Paradise Cracked)”, which rightly won the West Coast Songwriters Association award in 2007 with such lyrics as “tired and lonesome/lost as a ship/whose compass is broken/whose sail are all ripped”. New songs make their debut as well, including the timely and harrowing “15 months” which deals with war and deployment. The left-behind love describes reading her soldier’s letter every night, “sometimes I just hold it in my fingers/ or pressed between my palms with all my might”.
While live albums are notoriously gritty, Misner & Smith’s Live at the Freight & Salvage is well-mastered and, in all honesty, even better than a studio album because you can hear for yourself how much they love their audience. Their ease on stage is matched in their effortless performance and clean musicianship. And so with a timeless San Francisco sound but revitalized imagery in their ever-poetic songwriting, Misner & Smith are a duo not to be missed.
Misner & Smith: Madeline
Misner & Smith: 15 Months