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      Shane Smith & The Saints in Lexington

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      December 6, 2019

      Friday   8:30 PM

      899 Manchester Street
      Lexington, Kentucky 40508

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      Shane Smith & The Saints

      Play just the first 10 seconds of "The Mountain," which opens Geronimo, thelatest and most ambitious release from Shane Smith & The Saints. Robust acappella, four-part harmonies set the stage for a saga of family tragedy, a youngson's revenge and a blaze burning eternally in a Pennsylvania mine. The vividlyrics, powerful vocals and thumping four-beat drums throughout this song arereason enough for lovers of creative roots music to celebrate.From their home base in Austin through performances across the country (17states) and abroad (Ireland), these five gentlemen have not just stuck stubbornlyto their musical and lyrical convictions. They've defied audience expectations bydelivering incendiary shows, each one ignited by the band's ability to unleash,feed from and feed back the energy of the crowd -- in spite of the fact that theydon't fit easily into any musical category.With Geronimo, they've dared themselves to exceed their own expectations.Each song begins with Smith creating its "bones," in the form of chords andlyrics. He then joins fiddler Bennett Brown, lead guitarist Tim Allen, bassist ChaseSatterwhite and drummer Zack Stover to bring those bones to life. Aside from abit of cello, some horns and a few keyboard parts, the band lays down each noteon Geronimo. Their ability to bring songs to life has even earned themopportunities to record instrumental tracks for other artists.Smith's ability to draw images from everyday life into poetry goes back to hisearliest days in Terrell, Texas, an hour east of Dallas."There was an old Catholic church right next to our house," he recalls. "To thisday, I remember those church bells ringing. In fact, I use that reference in a songfrom Geronimo called 'Suzannah,' which is about a guy who's fighting a war andis thinking of his hometown -- and he also remembers being raised with a churchbell ringing on the hour every day."Before he ever thought of himself as a songwriter, Smith was concerned mainlywith tennis. He played for the formidable program at Tyler Junior College beforetransferring to St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. Smith soon began gettinginto music as well, playing solo gigs in local bars. And he began writing, inspiredby looking at life as it played out around him."I'd be in a restaurant and overhear someone saying something, and I'll have toexcuse myself, walk outside and write a note to myself about it," he says. "Thesedays, I make little iPhone recordings. The other day I made one about thishomeless guy I saw by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere. He wasdirty and worn out but he was picking these gorgeous flowers. I constantly seemoments and images and statements, put them in the bank and have them thereto reflect on and make into honest lyrics down the road."Even when he writes a love song, Smith almost can't help but turn the mundaneinto something transcendent. On Geronimo, he does this with "All I See Is You":"The storm's running through the Midwest like a bandit on the loose. / All theclouds are black as night and all I see is you. / The rain's pouring through thewindow panes and the cracks of this roof. / Tea's boiling from the spout of thepot, but all I see is you."Recorded and self-produced while on the road throughout Austin, Dallas andNashville, Geronimo weaves these images into story lines, each enhancing theother, together coming alive. "I love trying to tell stories through songs," Smithobserves. "There's something that fascinates me about echoing old tales insongs to carry them on for years and years, like old folk songs."And so we travel with a newly freed slave in the nineteenth century, hearing themusic and feeling the exuberance of dancing in Congo Square on "NewOrleans." We feel the rueful reflection from a sinner who "spent time on thewrong side of the church door" on "Right Side of the Ground." We stand shoulderto shoulder with the Alamo's doomed heroes as their final seconds near on"Crockett's Prayer." And the title track serves a dual purpose, taking us to aheroic time and place while making a broader statement about this project.On one end, it is an attempt to pay tribute to the life of Geronimo, the Apachewarrior, says Smith. I've always been fascinated by Geronimo and the principleshe stood for. This also presented the perfect opportunity to relate the term'Geronimo' with our intensions of this album and the 'jumping from a cliff' ideathat it symbolizes. If we are going to attempt a career in music, this album is ourcommitment to give it everything we've got.Our goal with this album was never to put out a bunch of catchy singles and beall over the radio, explains Smith. It was to set us apart, with meaningful lyrics,huge harmonies and the sound of a hard-working band that has played somecrappy gigs and come out stronger for it. We always had the options to eithermake a 'safe' record or put something out that sounds like us and no one else."We took that second option and named it Geronimo."

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