Third in a Gazette series on local bands
Serendipity brought the four members of the folk/Americana band Smith House together at the right place, right time.
Colorado Springs natives Zach Brown and Barrett Muth had been friends since high school, and in 2013 they were living in a house near University of Colorado at Colorado Springs called The Smith House. The duo wrote music and played together as Smith House, a name that stayed with the band.
In 2016, violinist Brittany Ware (now Brown, married last year to Zach Brown) was featured on their first album.
And Julie Frost, a bassist who has mutual friends with Muth, was called on to start playing with the band.
"It just kind of grew in its own way," Muth said.
And just in time, as Muth and Brown had been putting feelers out on Craigslist and Facebook for a violinist and bassist.
"It was organic," Zach Brown said.
Hearing them play their soulful original folk songs, you would think these four talents had been playing as a unit all along.
The group is at work on Smith House's third album, following a six-song EP released in 2013 and a full album in 2015. The latest album is "almost a tribute album to the places that have made us," said Zach Brown. The band will record songs at Colorado Springs venues where they've played, including the Smith House (now home to Brittany and Zach), The Wild Goose and Stargazers. The songs that make it to the as-yet-unnamed album will be determined by which sound the best.
"We have been fostered by the Springs arts community," and want to reflect the community in the album, Muth said.
Smith House plays 20 to 30 shows a year, or about one or two a month.
"It's nice to have some space between shows," said Frost, as each band member has a "day job" to consider.
They play mostly original music but may throw in a cover of newer folk/bluegrass bands or classic performers such as Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash. They rehearse before each gig.
"It's nice to learn new songs then," Frost said.
Their fan following comes mostly from referrals.
"Usually people will just see us play, and then we'll hear something like, 'Oh, I saw you play at someplace,'" Frost said. "A lot of our success has been word-of-mouth. I don't think Smith House would be what it is without community support."