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April Smith

By Gary Wien


April Smith seemed to burst out of nowhere. I still remember the first time I saw her as she was heading to the stage. The crowd expected her to be just another female singer-songwriter. Maybe a little bit like Joni Mitchell; maybe a little poetic like Jewel or quirky like Liz Phair. But they never expected the second coming of Melissa Etheridge with a voice that seemed to attack the audience from every angle.

By the end of her first song they knew she was something different. And they would always remember that voice. That booming voice. The one that made it seem like you lived a lifetime within the four and a half minute song she had just finished singing. The voice that you never expected to come from the chick on stage. Sure... she was a woman, but she was something different. She rocked! I bet she even preferred to be called a chick to a woman.

And those lyrics, what's up with those lyrics? Listen closely, she's not writing songs - she's writing screenplays. Mini movies that rock. Instead of creating a soundtrack for a film she's creating soundtracks that are films. And somewhere in between you stop and wonder about those lyrics... Man, there are a lot of songs about men in there... And there's a lot of anger... And some weird thoughts expressed... She'd make one scary girlfriend!

"Yeah, I'm a scary girlfriend," admits April Smith. "If you have the chance to go out on a date with April Smith you run!"

April Smith has the distinction of being the first artist signed to the new Indigo Planet Records, the label started by Dave Kosciolek, owner of the Indigo Coffeehouse in Aberdeen. It's a label dedicated to promoting New Jersey artists and it's starting out with an emphasis on Jersey Shore artists like April, who was originally from Toms River and currently lives in Shrewsbury. This will be April's first full-length studio record. She previously released the 6-song Demo CD Revenge of the Brunette last year.

Long-time fans of April will hear some songs they're familiar with and some they've never heard before on her upcoming record. A few of the songs were released on the demo but re-recorded for the new disc and a few are songs she often performs live that weren't recorded for Revenge of the Brunette. But Smith says that the songs will all fit together.

"I'm just trying to look at the album as a whole," says Smith. "I don't want it to seem piecemeal. I want it to be a coherent collection of songs where you realize why they're all together. I can't say it's a concept album, but I want to make an album where when you listen to it you'll understand why the songs belong together. It's almost like a rollercoaster ride where there's going to be a rock song and then there's going to be a ballad and then some symphonic balls-out song in the middle. It's not going to be all the same, but it'll be coherent and fit together. It'll be a nice little puzzle in the end."

It's hardly a coincidence that April's songs sound like mini-movies because when she describes the record, she describes it in terms of movies.

"I love movies," explained Smith. "My favorite comedy is probably Better Off Dead". I love John Cusack and I loved the follow-up one, One Crazy Summer. I think the songs on the new album are going to basically be like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Girl Interrupted meets Stepford Wives meets the Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. That's basically what it comes down to. It's very theatrical, almost bigger."

The timing of Indigo Planet Records emerging couldn't have come at a better time for April. She's in a groove right now where each new song sounds better than the last and her voice has never sounded better. When she first started out, she would sometimes use her voice too much and drown out the rest of the music. She's learning how to blend the two together and it's making her songs that much better.

"I think a lot of the problems with singers is that if you have a really strong powerful voice and you can hit those really high notes you'll do it as much as you can," explained Smith. "It's like vocal acrobatics. But just because you have Photoshop it doesn't mean you have to use it on every photo you have. And that's how I approach my music now. Some songs I use my voice to build more instead of always being a static, booming high loud song. It's more dynamic. I'm also trying not to write as much. I'm just writing what comes natural now instead of worrying if a song is dynamic enough. Things are more heartfelt and the writing I'm doing now is more whimsical. It always used to be about experience. Now I'm writing almost about fantasy."

Smith, a regular performer at the Indigo Coffeehouse, says she had no idea that Kosciolek was even planning to start a record label. She was honored to be the first artist signed and laughs when remembering how nervous Kosciolek was when he asked her. "He kept saying, I never thought you would sign with me."

Even though being on a new label can be a rough experience, Smith believes completely that Kosciolek will make the label a success. And she's looking forward to the challenge they both will face.

"I have no doubt that he will find a way to get my album in front of as many people as he can," said Smith. "That's the goal. We want as many people to hear the record as possible. And we want to compete with the big guys. We want to say, 'yeah, we're an indie label, but that's not going to stop us. Don't even doubt that we will be in your living room!'"



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Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme Presents Patrick Fitzsimmons On December 16
(SUCCASUNNA, NJ) -- Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme (RR&R) presents Patrick Fitzsimmons on Sunday, December 16 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Investors Bank Theatre in Succasunna. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $15 for RAA/SSG/JAM members; and free for those under 18.
Outpost in the Burbs Presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Outpost in the Burbs presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams on Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue.  Opening the show will be New York City-based singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson. Outpost volunteers will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for the holiday season for Toys for Tots at the show.
Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home
(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.
State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.


"Great Music!" Tavares and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes LIVE! at the Strand Theater
The music of the 1970s is alive and well this Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater with a concert by the ’70’s R&B and soul groups Tavares and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes!
"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.






Event calendar
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018


THEATRE
The Madness of George III @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


MISC

Warren Miller’s Face of Winter @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

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