HeatherSmith Band to release debut album

Album, “Stay Away Love”

The HeatherSmith Band, a Little Rock based jazz/pop band, is set to release “Stay Away Love,” their first full-length album of original songs on May 9.

HeatherSmith, a Little Rock based jazz/pop band, is set to release “Stay Away Love,” their first full-length album of original songs on May 9. The band originally formed in 2013, is comprised of Heather Smith, lead vocals; Wythe Walker, keyboard, guitar, harmonica, vocals; Ray Wittenberg, drums; Bill McCumber, bass; John Gaiser, electric guitar; and Matthew Holland, keyboard.

When asked to describe their genre of music, Smith is hard-pressed. “While we are heavily influenced by jazz of the 1940s and 50s [Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee], we also have some definite pop influences; specifically in our contemporary lyrics and the twenty-first century stories we tell in our songs,” Smith said. “It’s sort of a hybrid of jazz and pop that’s timeless with a specifically vintage feel, but also distinctly modern.”

Smith and Walker co-wrote all the songs using Smith’s autobiographical lyrics. “All of our songs are based on actual experiences in my life, the good, the bad and the inevitable heartbreaks,” Smith admits sheepishly. “It’s wonderfully cheap therapy.”

“Stay Away Love” was executively produced by Walker and produced and arranged by the talented John Davies, a member of the bands Earl and Them and The Cate Brothers. Davies has also played extensively with Levon Helm.

The album, comprised of 11 tracks, was recorded at Wolfman Studios in Little Rock with Jason Tedford engineering and Nob Hill Studios in Springdale, Ark. with Darren Novotny engineering.

While Heather can trace her family’s roots in Arkansas for over 150 years, she first moved to Little Rock in 2009 from Los Angeles, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts at Pepperdine University. Heather is also an accomplished actress and a founding member of Little Rock’s non-profit Precipice Theatre Company. She has been writing songs since childhood but doesn’t play any musical instruments. “That was obviously a problem…until I met Wythe,” Smith said.

Walker is a veteran of the Little Rock music scene, also playing with The Smittles and Two Lane Blacktop. “His ability to orchestrate and arrange my simple melodies was a definite game-changer,” Smith adds. “He is my hero. Without Wythe, these songs would’ve stayed in messy piles of yellow legal pads and journals, simply collecting dust.”

Ray Wittenberg, who moonlights as Associate Publisher of the Oxford American Magazine, Bill McCumber and John Gaiser are all phenomenally accomplished and seasoned musicians in their own right. All three currently play in Two Lane Blacktop, with Ray and Bill also playing with The Smittles.

Matthew Holland, a recent addition to the band, is a talented pianist who holds a degree in music from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

Other Musicians on the album:

Tim Yarborough — Guitar

David Ervin — Piano, Organ, Melodica

Adam Collins — Vibes

John Davies — Bass

Darren Novotny — Drums, Congas

Rachel Fields — Flute

Matt Beach — Trombone

John Burnette — Vocal (Duet) It Goes Without Saying

HeatherSmith will host an album release party on May 9 at the Studio Theater Lobby Bar at 328 West 7th St. in Little Rock at 7:00 p.m. CDs and Download Cards will be available for purchase for $10.00

Listen to “I Fell in Love With A Hipster” on here.

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/362554030610516/