Smith & Myers — the duo made up of Shinedown frontman Brent Smith and guitarist Zach Myers — will release their debut album, Volume 1, this Friday. The record consists of five covers, ranging from Neil Young‘s “Rockin’ in the Free World” to Post Malone‘s “Better Now,” and five originals.
“With the covers, it was more about reimagining, like, ‘OK, what if we wrote these songs?'” Myers tells ABC Audio.
The sequencing on Volume 1 jumps back and forth between cover and original, and it often feels that the original is paired thematically with the cover that precedes or follows it. While Smith & Myers didn’t intend for that, their lyric-driven approach to their own songwriting naturally led them down that path.
“The principle was, ‘How do we take these songs and really focus on the story that’s being spoken about?’ and really focus on the lyrical content,” Smith explains.
Throughout that process, Smith & Myers found themselves tackling social and political issues that they’ve never written about before: lead single “NOT MAD ENOUGH” was written following the killing of George Floyd, while “THE WEIGHT OF IT ALL” is about immigration.
“It would be very disingenuous of us as artists to go, ‘Hey, look at everything the world’s going through right now, let’s write some break-up songs, or let’s write some songs about our self,'” Myers says. “I think you’re trying to pull the wool over your own eyes, as well as your audience’s eyes, by not at least touching on what’s going on.”
Smith adds that Volume 1 also has its “lighthearted moments,” too.
“Not everything is a social commentary,” Smith says. “We didn’t shy away from that because it was relevant and it was what was going on around us, but there’s also a lot of fun on the record, too.”
By Josh Johnson
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