Fire and Ice

From Texas to Nashville, Smithfield is making waves by combining rock and country influences into an explosive expression of art. Comprised from the background driven by two different genres of rock and country, the sound spurred from artists Trey Smith and Jennifer Fiedler is energetic and driven. After all, two is better than one, right?

You might be surprised to read that the song I have selected from their EP to feature here is not my favorite out of their several releases. When I was originally looking into this rising duet, I was searching for something that made me feel a lot of emotion; something that would resonate with me lyrically to make me feel either reminiscent or sad, causing the type of nostalgia that one would expect from a male/female duo. While their singles titled If I Were You and Hey Whiskey do exactly that, after listening to a few of their tracks I have chosen to focus on their song titled Nothing But The Night for a completely different reason: it is pure sound engineering genius. 

I don't think many people put a lot of thought into the effort it takes to actually compose and record a single line in any given song, let alone one that features two very separate and unique artists. To simplistically break it down, typically music is tracked all on separate lines, painstakingly one at a time - first an idea for a single guitar line is recorded all the way through, then individually added guitar harmonies, followed by duplicate or "doubled" lines added in for extra sound layering, etc. While I think the guitar and drum lines in this song give it a great vibe, I was most impressed and drawn to the vocal harmonies (which are most always added in last in the recording process). This song is inherently more challenging to level out and record than their other duets because it is a complete split down the middle, featuring both Trey and Jennifer's voices an equal amount throughout the track. Even though each of them is featured individually in the verses, the combination of their two voices when they harmonize in the chorus is extremely hard to master...and the result here is incredible. 

I am undoubtedly a harsh music critic for a number of reasons, but I am slowly learning ways to explain why certain things work in songs any why some do not. I try my best to stay away from cliches such as "this duet is fire and ice!" because ultimately that exclamation means nothing to the reader, and in this particular case it is extremely untrue. Trey and Jennifer's vocals melt together in a sound leveling feat where neither one's voice overpowers the other, and their sound almost blends together in a way where nothing stands out to the listening ear. Even though this may not sound like a good thing (why wouldn't you want your voice to stand out?), in a duet, this is extremely difficult to achieve. The flow of this song rises and falls in waves, and throughout this movement their pitch and intensity remains the same so that you can clearly hear both voices throughout the song. The pairing of these two individuals is astounding, and their voices compliment each other's in a way that is extremely melodic and pleasing to listen to. This song is incredibly fun, and only sounds trivial and effortless because so much work went into creating this track.

My hat goes off to the sound engineer and the vocal talent that went into this particular song. Smithfield truly is a wonderfully styled duet. I would highly encourage you to critically listen to their music, and try to put into words why it makes you feel the way that you do - happy listening - and if you feel so inclined, please feel free to comment your thoughts below! 

-Marissa