There's Nothing We Can't Pretend
TYSON SMITH Tyson Smith is a guitarist/singer/songwriter originally hailing from Manuka Bay on New Zealand's east coast, though his last decade of musical meanderings has taken him from Christchurch to the Caribbean, Central America, New York, Europe and most recently Wellington where he's currently based. Initially starting out on homemade polystyrene guitars and miming along with 'Money For Nothing' for unsuspecting family friends he began learning on the real thing at age 9. It wasn't long before he was regularly making the 100km journey to the city of Christchurch for lessons as well as performing duets with his sister, flautist Tamara Smith. Tyson relocated to Christchurch for his final high school years and to attend the CPIT Jazz School, continuing to immerse himself in the local music scene. For some of this time he lived with a Peruvian family, learning Spanish and intensifying his interest in ethnic music. In 2003, after performing around Christchurch in various ensembles ranging from pseudo-flamenco duos to 8-piece funks bands, Tyson decided it would be a good idea to invest in a cheap Tuxedo and fly to New Orleans. Over the next 3 years he could be found performing in showbands afloat the Caribbean or Mediterranean, or soaking up influences in Central America, Cuba or The States. During a few months in New York he took lessons from some of the city's top guitarists including Mike Stern, John Abercrombie, Wayne Krantz and Ben Monder and funded nightly pilgrimages through the snowy streets to various music venues by busking in the subway. He also found a place by Union Square where you can get a meatball sandwich and an ice tea for $2. Since relocating to NZ's capital Wellington in 2006 he has been busy working on his own original music as well performing with a range of acts including singer Hollie Smith and also playing guitar and banjo in 'Mundi', a world music group lead by his sister Tamara. THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN'T PRETEND Two years after the initial recording session and almost eight years after some of the songs were written, Tyson Smith released his debut album 'There's Nothing We Can't Pretend'. The variety of influences encountered during Tyson's musical meanderings is plainly evident in the 11 tracks featured on the album. With funk, rock, jazz, blues, folk and world music elements the album is nothing if not eclectic. In Tyson's own words it is '...in many ways a compilation album - pages from my musical diary penned during the last half dozen years against various backdrops...' The album still manages to maintain a sense of cohesion - thanks at least in part to the consistently funky musicians that Tyson enlisted to record with him. Alongside Tyson's often quirky lyrics and impressive guitarring, some of New Zealand's most well respected musical talents are featured; including fellow Hollie Smith sideman Darren Mathiassen on drums, Jonathan Crayford on keys, Johnny Lawrence on bass and the omnipresent Lisa Tomlins on backing vocals on a couple of songs. Various tracks also feature horns and ethnic percussion. All the material on the album was written and arranged by Tyson and recorded and mixed when time and bank accounts allowed at Trident Studios in Wellington. Tyson describes the process as 'an occasionally-sharper-than-expected learning curve' and says he came away from it with a much bigger grasp on the recording industry than he might've had if other producers had been involved. He is currently working on new and rather different material with plans in the wings for another album at some point in the not too distant future.