You don't really have to go away.
Do you need a place to stay?"
When allowed to foster honest sentiment in the hearts of its audience, music can challenge social conventions and tear down blackened political ideologues with an unsurpassed ease -- or maybe even point out something rotten in the heart of America. Los Angeles songwriter Nate Smith understands this inherent gravitational force and directs its weighted resolve towards an examination of some of the aspects of our society which too many people are all too comfortable silently shuffling to periphery of their attention. His lyrical observations are punctuated by crunchy guitar riffs and a thumping percussive rattle.
Whether he's establishing the details of living out in the middle of Utah, finding purpose through fatherhood, experiencing the destructive nature of divorce or raising his voice to combat the tide of intolerance and prejudice that recently seems to be choking the oxygen from your lungs, Smith adopts an earnest but barbed perspective on the world and its occasionally infernal machinations. He's long used this medium to illuminate those things which are uncomfortable to confront but which often reveal some buried bias we may have inadvertently tucked away in our own history.
Smith will self-release his latest record, "Some Kind of Dancing," on Sept. 28, and it chronicles the fears, desperation, hope and desire for change that have long been staples of his work. Smith's songs dig into you, forcing you to address parts of yourself that don't often come to light (and which, in all honesty, we'd probably like to leave gathering dust for a little while longer).
On his new single, "A Girl Named America," he pours all of his disgust and horror and anger into roughly 5 minutes of music that takes a long and honest look at the state of modern America. It's certainly no coincidence that he's releasing this song on the Fourth of July -- there's something poetic and appropriate about using this time of the year to turn the mirror on ourselves and this country.
Musically, the song features some truly dense and manic guitar licks, aided by a boisterous percussion and Smith's own weary persuasion. Pulling from '70s rock without evoking crass nostalgia (just toss on Neil Young's "On the Beach" or Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Cosmo's Factory" for reference), he manages to channel a timeless frustration and indignation while still leaving room for a hesitant hope. Smith sings the lyrics quoted at the beginning of this article with both a sense of resignation and quiet fury. You get the sense that he knows that there's got to be something better than all this, and he correctly suggests that we can't stay silent if we want things to change.