Sections

Bard o’ blues: Songwriter performs tunes of letting go

Rhythm and blues: Greenpoint singer and songwriter Deborah Smith will take the stage at Freddy’s Bar during the weekly SlamJunk Blues night on Nov. 28.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

She’s feeling a little blues.

A Greenpoint singer-songwriter with roots in country and folk music will headline the weekly blues night SlamJunk Blues at Freddy’s Bar on Nov. 28. Deborah Smith, who also plays acoustic guitar, will play selections from her latest album, “Hearing in the Bardo,” a collection of tunes about loss that leans more heavily on jazz and blues than her usual upbeat and folksy music, she said.

“It’s a pretty serious departure from the music I’m used to performing,” said Smith.

The album is also more personal than her other work, exploring the feelings of losing and letting go that she felt following the death of her father about nine years ago. The Tibetan word “bardo,” the liminal state after death but before the next life, perfectly exemplifies the intense feelings she experienced during that painful time, she said.

“It kind of describes that period in our existence that drifts between physical manifestations, all the stuff feels really intense,” said Smith. “They are all songs I wrote surrounding the death of my father. While the material isn’t about that, the common thread of the music was written in a time period of feeling really intensely palpable. It’s a little more brave in terms of expressing true feelings, daring in terms of rhythmic structures, and a lot of that had to do with letting things go.”

Smith will be joined on stage by her long-time musical collaborators, including Lucas Papaelias on electric guitar, Douglas Cox on drums, Liz Hanley on fiddle, and Colin Brown — whose organ trio will play at Freddy’s later that same night — on piano.

It is sure to be a fun evening, said Smith, who just returned from a European tour.

“It’s going to be great,” she said. “I’m very excited about the first show I’m performing back in Brooklyn after doing my first ever tour in France and Spain.”

The SlamJunk Blues weekly blues night often features musicians who played with late Brooklyn blues greats Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings or Charles Bradley, said the evening’s progammer.

“I choose from folks that are kind of in our family, in our community, people that come to shows,” said Billy Jackson, who lives in Crown Heights.

But Smith is a perfect addition to the close-knit group of musicians who regularly perform at the Park Slope pub, he said. Her piano player, Brown, suggested that Jackson invite her to the show, and after listening to her music, Jackson had to agree.

“The fact that she’s a total musician, it was kind of a no-brainer,” he said. “After review, I was like ‘hell yeah!’ ”

Deborah Smith at Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Greenwood Heights, www.freddysbar.com). Nov. 28 at 8 pm. $5.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, November 20, 2017
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!