April Smith and The Great Picture Show is a band that has paid their dues. This Toms River girl started out playing anything and everywhere she could and with the band created their own distinct sound, which culminated with the highly acclaimed Loveletterbombs of 2006. Since then April and the band have been making smart moves in the music biz world, creating and running her own publishing company and placing songs in both television shows and blockbuster movies. They are part of a major tour out on the road with famed songwriter J.D. Souther who wrote songs with the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, just to name a few, as well as climbing the media ladder with online celebs like Perez Hilton. Ecologically-friendly April took some time (while out walking her dog) to talk to me about the fast forward progress of 2008 and where she’s headed in 2009.
How did you end up meeting and touring with J.D. Souther?
Well, that’s a really funny story. J.D. was looking for a touring partner and a couple of artists had reached out to him and wanted to buy into the tour you know, and then there were some people that his management thought would be good for him and he said, ‘I don’t want any of these people. Give me a week alone with the Internet and I’ll tell you who I want to go on tour with.’ So he found me by scouring MySpace, which is the ultimate compliment because I was like, ‘He’s totally serious? That’s J.D. Souther man, and he’s picked me? It’s insane!’
So yeah, he found me and we’re going back out this month and he’s been so great. I’ve been spoiled (laughs). He’s very generous, making sure that I’m on the billing wherever we go. He’s also introduced me to some amazing musicians like Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson as well as Linda Hamilton who was also at my show—Tom Hanks, too. He was so nice. He said, ‘I loved your set, I want to buy a CD.’ And I said, ‘I have more than one CD man!’ (laughs) And he said, ‘Ok I’ll buy all of 30,000 of them,’ kind of making a joke but he was so friendly.
Did you come up with the material for Live From The Penthouse while out on tour with Souther or was that something that formed elsewhere?
Over the past few years I’ve really been embracing my writing instead of, well, it’s definitely a departure from the rock sound—I’ve always loved the Andrew sisters, Tom Waits, you know like weird, quirky stuff. I just started writing differently and then everything started clicking and coming out sort of in that retro pop, but not that ‘50s, ‘60s thing that’s so prevalent now, this is actually a little before that time period, more of the ‘30s style and era.
The song ‘Colors’ won a 2008 IMA award for Best Song. How has winning helped the band’s visibility in 2009?
Well I just won that last week (laughs) but it’s being promoted widely and to millions of people and they’ve just put a whole campaign together for me. I’m really trying to get an album out this year so I can tie in with all of that. The people at IMA have been really supportive with us.