Oakes & Smith, a folk duo rising from Tyringham, Massachusetts, released their debut album ‘First Flight’ in late November.
With musical sounds similar to The Swell Season, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and Joan Baez, Oakes & Smith are rising to the indie and folk scene with their new release. With the gaining support of fans and a successful Kickstarter campaign, ‘First Flight’ was also made possible through many big names in the industry who have recorded and produced for artists including Norah Jones, Amos Lee, Bob Marley, among many more.
This talented duo consists of Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith. The two both were born into musical families who got them into performing and writing music at very young ages. Katherine was involved in singing with her parents’ choral group, and went on to perform in high school and college productions. Aside from singing and performing, Katherine also was involved in other forms of art including writing, visual art, stage crafting and acting. For Robert, he spent his time playing in a number of bands with his family and friends before continuing on to take a step into self-producing and performing in many venues of New York. Also, aside from music, Robert has been writing stories and poetry since a young age.
Katherine and Robert met in Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts in the summer of 2007, unexpectedly. While there, the two artists worked on the production, artwork and photography of Robert’s solo album ‘Heart Broken Open’, which was released on Big Sleep Records of Brooklyn in 2009. After the release, Katherine and Robert decided to test the thought of collaboration. It was in New York City where the two attended and performed together at a workshop led by Joy Askew. She loved their sound and urged the duo to continue to create music together, recorded some at-home demos together and recruited members for a band – Oakes & Smith was then born. Since officially forming, the duo has spent a lot of their time performing their music at cafes, bars, festivals, theaters, art centers and everywhere in between along the East Coast and beyond, gaining a wide and warm welcome into the industry.
Oakes & Smith is an example of the perfect soundtrack for a crisp, fall season or warm summer nights. The folk sounds make any time or moment relaxing, making you want to kick your feet up and enjoy your surroundings, whether it be nature, friends or a peaceful silence. A lot of this may come from the fact that the duo spent a great deal of time in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. The duo describes the area as “a peaceful place filled with natural and cultural beauty”, and you can absolutely feel this sense of peace through the duo’s music. In fact, I spent the whole time writing this piece with ‘First Flight’ softly playing in the background, and kept the tunes playing well into my evening.
To take a listen to the relaxing sounds of Oakes & Smith, visit their Bandcamp site at oakesandsmith.band camp.com, or visit their website at www.oakesandsmith.com! Stay tuned for more to come from this talented duo in the new year!