show me (road) shows :: the music of savannah smith…

In the year 2000, I was 18. I was heavily invested in music as a life saving mechanism. I slept with Tori Amos tapes on repeat and woke replenished. I spent paycheck after paycheck, earned while working on a marina on a tourist lake, on albums by women. I fell in love with Sarah’s Harmer and Slean, I devoted my heart to Patty Griffin.

{Photo by Jarred Gastreich of Show Me Shows}

I’ve grown up since then. I graduated high school, went to college, failed out, and dropped the singer-songwriter women I had once so loved from my mixtapes. I stopped visiting that record store and I moved on to men with voices. I’ve let them speak for me in the last 10 or so years and with the exception of very few solo female artists, I ignore the woman who is making a go of it alone, on the back of just her own words and sounds. Such things are tragedies for ladies as in love with the idea of a woman powerful just because she is a woman. But such things are quickly remedied by the music of Savannah Smith.

At just 22, Smith is talented beyond her years and that at first listen is certainly obvious. Her tumblr, that place that is occasionally a respite for young girls to fawn over fake Marilyn Monroe quotes and block type over Instagram photos, is full of intelligence and awesome Loretta Lynn t-shirts that typically girls of her age do not appreciate nor wear. This is not a slight against the younger women of my generation but I think it’s fair to note that Smith has transcended what we too often view as a representation of what makes a girl a girl in this day and age. Smith is smart in her musical icons (and really folks, that matters more than most know or will admit), and as such, is a shining beacon in a land of manufactured pop icons shoved down our throats as if there are no intelligent options for those of us ladies that wish for beauty, thoughtfulness, and utter truth in our music.

In a world where Taylor Swift, lovely as the young girls think she is, can get a record deal and Billboard hits because she got broken up with and can rhyme a few words together decently, Savannah Smith is a breath of fresh air. There is hope for your young girls, there is hope for our gender, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for a girl who loves her ukulele as much as all the other girls love the idea of their wedding. She is a refreshing reminder in this day and age when too much stock is put into the color of your prom dress instead of the contents of your heart. We are smart, we can do it on our own, we have talent. Smith is proof of that.

{Photo by Jarred Gastreich of Show Me Shows}

We are fed Rihanna and we are fed Nicki Minaj, as if those are our only options as women who are in search of a musician to speak for and with us. If you do not seek out your own Amanda Shires’ or Jenn Wasner’s then those are the options. Thankfully, there are artists like those women though and Savannah Smith to remind us that you can be smart and adorable all at once. You can adhere to your ideals and your love of your of your uke, however unconventional, and I will hear it. Girls like me will get it and love it. The guys at Show Me Shows will hear it, recognize it’s merit, and they will produce beautiful videographic memories of it, like the two above.

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3 comments
  1. Robert Xeno said:

    Savannah Smith is excellent.
    Taylor Swift got a record deal because long before you knew who she was she was writing hits for other artists. Your statement is false, misleading, untrue and ignorant. It puts into question everything else you are doing. Which is sad because artists like Savannah can use the exposure.
    But ignorance will wilt.
    Pay attention.

    • Thanks for the comment, Robert.

      Actually, I’ve checked discogs and don’t find any other songwriting credits for Miss Swift. Can you point me to other songs (of merit and heft, something other than “We are Never, Ever, Ever, No Seriously, Getting Back Together”) she’s written? If I find that she can take credit for something as weighty and intelligent as Savannah’s “Ventriloquism”, I’ll certainly retract my statement.

      I’m assuming, as you’ve given your name as Robert, that you’ve got no idea what it’s like being a female and fed certain things on the radio as the ideal of what we ladies should be these days. That’s okay, that’s not your fault. You can’t help that you were born a man. But music by women today (with exceptions, certainly, but Taylor is not one of them) glorifies purity and utter chastity, adorable femininity, and those who seem to know their place as delicate flowers that can always be saved by a prince. On the other side of that card are our other choices: the Rihanna’s that glorify over the top sexuality and the Nicki Minaj’s (both, as mentioned in the piece) who breasts and outrageous outfits take more precedent than her words. It’s infuriating and it’s bullshit. Women are more than a pair of tits and a cutesy attitude — we have fucking brains and I wish more female artists got that. Savannah clearly does and that was my point.

  2. Robert Xeno said:

    We agree. Savannah has a great personal sense, let’s hope she can maintain it working at the Apple store. I have championed women and women in the arts, and the workplace and the home for 40 years. Your blog you dont have to retract anything, but your bavado is as bothersome to me and Minaj’s ass, breasts, mouth and ignorance.
    You have fucking brains, well thats nice, now stop fucking around with them and use them for change rather than division.

    Really discogs? lol thats nice. Try the Copyright office or Harry Fox, they list 70+ songs dating back to 2002 when she was 12. Ignorance does not excuse stupidity it exacerbates it.

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