The Lil Smokies
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Drawing on the energy of a rock band and the Laurel Canyon songwriting of the ‘70s, The Lil Smokies are reimagining their approach to roots music on Tornillo, named for the remote Texas town where the album was recorded. Produced by Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses), Tornillo is the band’s third studio album. Formed in Missoula, Montana, The Lil Smokies have built a national following through constant touring, they have performed at Red Rocks, LOCKN’, High Sierra, Telluride, Bourbon & Beyond and more.
"I wanted to write a song that wasn’t sad or negative. Don’t get me wrong I love a solid heartbreak tune, but I had never written anything else." admits Brent Cowles, as he described the impetus for "High to Low", his brand new single available everywhere now.
"I wanted to make people dance and smile" he continued. So Brent locked himself in an LA studio with producer and songwriter Lewis Pesacov, of Fool's Gold fame, and they put together the funky foundations for "High To Low.” Brent and Lewis built the song around the bass-line. The result is exuberant, good time rock n roll. Says Brent, "It’s a song about dancing like everyone is watching, and you don’t give a damn."
Blurring the lines between boisterous rock, R&B, and contemplative folk, Brent’s infectious voice and knack for melody seem to swing effortlessly from quavering intimacy to a soulful roar as they soar atop his exuberant, explosive arrangements.
Growing up, Cowles first discovered the power of his voice singing hymns at his father’s church in Colorado Springs. Having a pastor for a parent meant heavy involvement in religious life, but Cowles never quite seemed to fit in. At 16 he fell in love with secular music; at 17 he recorded his first proper demos in a friend’s basement; at 18 he was married; at 19 he was divorced. Meanwhile, what began as a solo musical project blossomed into the critically acclaimed band You Me & Apollo, which quickly took over his life. The Denver Post raved that the group created “some of the most exciting original music in Colorado,” while Westword proclaimed that their live show was a “clinic in roots rock mixed with old-school swing and blues,” and Seattle NPR station KEXP hailed “Cowles’ Otis Redding and Sam Cooke inspired vocals.” The band released two albums and toured nationally before they called it quits and amicably went their separate ways.
The parting was a necessary but difficult one for Cowles. In the ensuing months and years, he would find himself alone more than ever before, at one point living out of his Chevy Tahoe just to make ends meet. But rather than break him, the experience only strengthened his resolve. "High to Low” gives the listener a real sense of Brent’s current mood. His songs are more evolved yet simpler, his lyrics are stronger yet fragile. He hopes you love it, live it and get down with it.
3017 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Portland, OR, 97202