Texas Country music artist, Shane Smith and the Saints, will be stopping in College Station before he and his band take the stage at ACL. The show will be on October 1 at Wolf Penn Creek Amphitheatre and they will be performing with Turnpike Troubadours and William Clark Green. The Maroon Weekly got the chance to talk with Shane Smith about his music and life as a professional artist.
MW: So to start off, can you tell us how your band formed?
SS: Well our fiddle player, Bennet Brown, from Kentucky, was the first person that I met in Austin. When I moved to Austin, I was trying to get to know different venue managers and get my foot in the door with some open mic nights and things like that. Before I moved to Austin, I had recorded a solo record that was more of an acoustic singer-songwriter thing. So, I moved and started doing some open mic nights and getting little residential shows as a solo singer-songwriter. Then I met Bennet, and we started playing together at pretty much every single show. We kinda teamed up. We won a singer-songwriter contest, in what’s now called Terrell, where I was born and grew up. Part of the grand prize was to open for Charlie Robinson in a big dance hall. We decided that we wanted a band to play with us at that show, and so we borrowed the only band that we had ever played with at that point. Well, we opened for them, not played with them. That was a band called the Chris Morris Band in Austin. And, essentially, several of their members started playing with us, then some of our friends started playing with us. That was our first band for about 2 years. Since then, several members have changed out, but we’ve been with the same core guys for close to four years now. And that’s kind of how it evolved. Everyone has a different story.
MW: Who are some artists that you performed with before?
SS: We have played shows with a lot of different bands in the Texas Country Scene, as well as outside of it. We’ve played shows with Ryan Bingham, Shakey Graves, Turnpike Troubadours, Randy Rogers Band, Reckless Kelly, all the way to opening for Travis Tritt. We’re about to have the opportunity to play at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on the same day as Chris Stapleton, Nathanial Radcliffe and Mumford and Sons, just a bunch of different guys. Actually, the show we are playing in College Station is the night before that.
MW: That will be exciting! Do you have any tracks that you like to play live?
SS: I really enjoy playing our last single, “All I See Is You,” just because it’s a very high-energy song that can get our crowds going. It just raises the energy of the show. Another song I really enjoy playing live is “Runaway Train” which is an original song. Its actually going to be our next single that we are about to start promoting. As far as covers of songs, we enjoy playing a song by Levon Helm called “Hurricane.” Band of Heathens also covered and recorded that song, which had a lot of influence on how we play it. We changed some things up on it, but it’s a consistent song that we play at our show that we really enjoy.
MW: Speaking of a new single, is there anything you can tell us about new music?
SS: Yeah, we’re in the process of putting all our songs together for the next record while we still promote “Geronimo,” which is our latest release. Right now we are in the writing phase for our next record and we have a lot of songs that we are really excited about.
MW: Well we are excited to hear it! So, last question: what’s the craziest thing that has ever happened during a concert?
SS: That’s a tough question! Let’s see, well, we’ve had fights break out on stage. Well, they fell onto the stage. When we were first starting to play shows in Dallas as a band, the venue that we would play was Adair’s Saloon, and every single show we played there, a fight would break out. So, that’s a fairly standard thing when you work in bars every night, to have fights break out. But, its unique because the stage and venue are so small that we had fights happen in front of the stage and would fall onto the stage. We had to stop playing once, but the other times we continued playing through it. There have been all kinds of things; it’s a very tough question to answer. We’ve seen a lot of things from doing this as a career.
MW: Who were your favorite musicians growing up? Have they influenced your career?
SS: As a young kid, it would’ve been oldies radio. There was a radio station, 98.7, in Dallas, that my dad would always listen to growing up, and that’s where I was introduced to Motown and oldies. From the Four Tops to Otis Redding, just all kinds of different stuff like that. I got the 90’s and alternative rock from my older brothers. That was late 90s and early 2000s. I was listening to Third Eye Blind, 311, and Blink 182. You know, just different stuff like that. It was when I got into high school that I got introduced to more country and folk and more singer-songwriter stuff. So, it’s a very, very wide variety of styles of music and musicians. I’ve definitely taken as much influence from them as I possibly can, and that goes the same for the entire band. We all listen to all different types and different genres of music.