Today, Shulman Smith releases the title track from his upcoming debut album, Way Out West. The song is available now on all digital service providers now, here. Additionally, Smith has revealed the accompanying video for “Way Out West”, set amidst the 1858 Pikes Peak Gold Rush. The video is an homage to classic Spaghetti Westerns, silent film, and quintessential Rocky Mountain imagery pulled from Smith’s Colorado upbringing. Watch/embed the video for “Way Out West”.
“Way Out West,” tells Smith’s personal story through the historical metaphor of the Gold Rush. The video leans into the past, toying with the gold rush story and how it reinvents itself for every new era in the American West. For the video, Smith partnered with his fiancée, producer Lauren Opatowski, who also sings background vocals in the recording. Their own struggle between home and opportunity is told through the lens of history.
“Traveling back in time allows me to find a voice for melodies and stories and for me, that's in Colorado,” Smith states. “All that Rocky Mountain history: abandoned mines, played-out creeks, and railroad tracks leading into the foothills; they are natural sources of inspiration. So I read the history to envelop myself in the stories: villains, greed, violence, hope, hard times, high times. The American experience of the 19th century repeats itself. These stories teach lessons, but they are also fun – I wanted to transport listeners back in time. The video itself is a time traveler: silent film, Spaghetti Western, and the early gold rush days. The clearer we see our past, the clearer we can see our present.”
Shulman Smith, a child of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, made his way further west to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he studied and pursued a variety of interests including instrument building, photography, painting, engineering - always with one eye kept on songwriting. Eventually making his way from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, and after years spent engineering for other musicians while putting his own musical aspirations on hold, Smith Shulman reconnected with fellow Coloradoan musician Joshua Lopez (Will.i.am, Macy Gray). Lopez would go on to produce and perform on Way Out West with Smith. In the summer of 2020, as the world changed before their eyes, an all-star band came together to record Shulman Smith’s songs, his dreamy view of the American West and her stories.
Recently, Shuman Smith released the first single and video from Way Out West, “Mineral King.” Smith partnered with the Sequoia Parks Conservancy to release the video and raise awareness for the park and the challenges it faces. The video, which features dancer Daisy Jacobson and filmed on land badly damaged by the wildfires of 2020, illustrates the creative collaboration between the music, video, and dance to help engage people to move beyond the feeling of helplessness concerning protecting our natural resources. “Mineral King” now has over 132K views and Smith’s fundraiser benefitting the Sequoia Parks Conservancy has raised almost $10,000 for scientific research, fire mitigation, and giant sequoia protection. Please click here to contribute and stay tuned for more information on creative collaborations between Shulman Smith and Sequoia National Park, to be announced soon.
The Way Out West band includes Blair Sinta (Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge) on drums, Rich Hinman (Tanya Tucker, Molly Tuttle, Sara Bareilles) on pedal steel, Adam MacDougall (Circles Around the Sun, The Black Crowes) on piano, Kaveh Rastegar (Bruce Springsteen, Beck, John Legend) on upright bass, and Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) on violin. Mixed by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, Hiss Golden Messenger), and mastered by Emily Lazar (HAIM, Maggie Rogers, Vampire Weekend), the Rocky Mountain singer pulls us through a kaleidoscopic trip of wooded guitars, shimmering pedal steel, and saloon piano on his mystical debut album. Way Out West is set for release Summer 2021.