Drivin’ Wheel: Real Gone meets Denny Smith

In 2010, back when Real Gone was in its embryonic stages, we received an email from a musician in the US asking if we’d review the then new album by his band The Great Affairs. That man was Denny Smith, singer-songwriter and previously a member of rock band fORMER. When he contacted us again approximately five months later, he had the distinction of being the very first artist to approach Real Gone for repeat coverage. Almost ten years on from that first contact, Denny dropped by to tell us all about the new album, his extra-curricular projects and more besides. The Great Affairs’ current album, ‘Ten & 2’ could be their best yet…

***

Continue reading

THE GREAT AFFAIRS – Ten & 2

The Great Affairs have evolved over the years. On their second album ‘Ricky Took The Wheels’ they owed a reasonable debt to The Black Crowes in terms of influence; by the following year, they were experimenting with stripped back Americana and, two years hence, their music – with a guiding hand from a new rhythm section featuring drummer/vocalist Kenny Wright – things had moved further towards gritty bar-room rock. Whatever the chosen style, though, each release could be relied upon for a handful of superb tracks.

Continue reading

THE GREAT AFFAIRS – Dream In Stereo

The-Great-AffairsFollowing their third release ‘Happy Ender’ in 2011, US roots rockers seemed set to call time on their career, with frontman Denny Smith moving on to other projects.  Luckily, they had a change of heart and following a shift of line up, 2013’s ‘4’ was arguably the best of their career to date.

Continue reading

RED MEANS RUN – All Things Said & Done EP

red means runA four piece alt-country band from Philadephia, Red Means Run take their name from the Neil Young classic ‘Powderfinger’ and on their debut EP, guitarist Jim McKay adds a couple of solos that have the same carefree/off-key approach of the great man himself.  If you love Neil and his naturalistic style of playing, of course, this is no bad thing…and it certainly suits this ragged quartet’s take on country rock.  Also inspired by Young and the earlier forebears of alt-country these chaps don’t really worry about layers or overdubs – the four songs on this release have a very direct feel, almost as if the band were playing in a bar somewhere.

Continue reading

THE DIE YOUNGS – Nothing’s Broken

Die YoungsAt one time, it was almost possible to know what you were getting from singer-songwriter Denny Smith from the get-go.  If he’d written a bunch of songs with alternative rock leanings, then chances are they’d be released by his rock band fORMER; if the music took a more retro/acoustic groove, it would go onto the pile designated for The Great Affairs.  Obviously, things weren’t quite as simple as that, but there was always a clear divide between projects and styles.  After The Great Affairs released their ‘Happy Ender’ EP and Smith considered resting that band, things got more complicated: fORMER released a selection of unheard material (‘The Kids Deserve Cable’) and The Great Affairs were reborn.  On the ‘4’ EP, The Great Affairs mixed up styles more than ever – alongside the Tom Petty/Black Crowes styled tunes, new drummer Kenny Wright (formerly of Bonepony and various other acts) penned ‘Fists and Guitars’, a thunderous rock ‘n’ roller fairly far removed from the quieter shades of most Great Affairs material.  With fORMER dead and the revitalised Great Affairs tackling whatever came naturally, it seemed the gloves were off.

Continue reading