Samantha Savage Smith first graced the Calgary Folk Music Festival stage in 2011 with a taste of her slick indie singer-songwriter album, the confessional Tough Cookie, which would eventually lead to national touring and distribution through Arts & Crafts. Her songs carry emotionally nuanced interpersonal drama through conversational lyrics, and brittle electric guitar that anticipates indie queens like Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Smith’s jazz-inflected voice stands alone, wavering enough to sell the contrast between its sweetness and her sometimes-bitter subject matter.
Smith was about to roll into her sophomore release when anxiety struck and she pumped the brakes. The long-awaited Fine Lines (2015) was a linear, almost literally chronological account of Smith’s wrestling with her musical identity. It’s a sparkling indie-rock record with big hooks, sharp guitars and a more diffuse emotional palette. After a long gestation period, the release cycle and endless touring that followed killed the momentum, and Smith took another step back.
For the last few years Smith has been performing in Calgary’s Lab Coast. Returning to the stage and touring again has renewed her creative energy and led to the writing and recording of a soon-to-be-released album, and she’s assembled a new band to perform her complex, rhythmic songs. Samantha Savage Smith is the indie queen Calgary needs now more than ever, and the best part is she never left.
Biography by Liam Prost