of the Month
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This month is.........
Helen Townsend and Shannon Smith; they’re a talented dynamic duo with bucketloads of chemistry that you can hear in every note.
You may have heard the name Helen Townsend before, although she is a self-confessed “late bloomer to music”, the Singer/Song Writer/Musician has made waves in the Australian Americana music scene winning a flurry of awards in the last few years.
It all started with her move to Perth 10 years ago, where she had an opportunity to get up on stage at an open mic and sing a song. Sensing her talent, MC of the event and Australian Poet Peter Capp asked Helen to come back. Only knowing the one song, Helen played the same song again and after a month of this, she learned a couple more songs to play for her next performances at the open mics. From there she met a bunch of people from Perth who were ‘very very supportive’ and encouraged her to keep playing before eventually asking her to join their band. “I didn’t know what I was doing but I had lovely people around me who were supporting me” she said.
But let’s not forget about the very talented Singer/Song Writer/ Musician, Shannon Smith, who in contrast to his bandmate and partner, was born into the music scene having a father that was a musician in the late 60’s and early 70’s in Sydney. This hereditary music bug was passed onto Shannon as he played music in bands throughout the years. “All my life it’s just been around music” he said.
Meeting on an online dating site, the pair built up a chemistry and after noticing the mutual bandmembers they had on Facebook, they realized they had more in common than they first thought. Shannon started off recording a couple harmonies on Helen’s ‘Little Lover’ album and as time passed the pair decided they wanted to become a duo. “We wanted to do something that was just us to try and get us into festivals as a duo” she said.
Being an Americana artist, Helen took inspiration from duos like Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell and Iris Dement and John Prine. All of which she introduced to Shannon in a situation Helen described as “… he really liked them and they were some of my favourite duos, so we started covered a couple of them and that started Shannon on the no return journey of Americana.”
Being the winner of an award winning single and the ‘main songstress’ of the duo, Helen has a multitude of way to write a song. Aside from her usual way of waking up in the morning and playing something and an idea emerges, Helen detailed an insightful way into how she writes songs, saying “other times I may have been somewhere and somethings inspired me in some way and I think ‘that would be a great song’ and the little draws in the back of my mind that park a little file in there so that if more information comes to me to fill that file full of verses I can pull that out, so its like I gather all this stuff at the back of my brain and when I find the chords on the day, it just kind of funnels out through the guitar playing and it becomes a song based on ideas that have been growing and growing, over weeks, months, even years.” Adding to this, Helen described the inspiration behind her writing, saying “A lot of the time I write from an empathetic perspective to some degree. The song may be about somebody else’s love or loss or heart break or an experience that I perceive as pain in somebody’s life, plus my own experience of different things, I think I like to look at both sides of the coin when it comes to situations that go on for people and that makes it easy to write down a perspective which isn’t necessarily your own.”
Adding to this process now on the new E.P. ‘Love Lies ‘N’ Leaving’, which will be released on June 8th, Shannon has helped create a new aura with his guitar playing and ability to harmonise with Helen. The song writing process in this harmony rich E.P. often starting with Helen singing and Shannon singing a harmony to it, as the duo workshopped the ideas together. Helen praised Shannon for his efforts and his ability to listen to the vowel sounds Helen sings, and change the way he sings to match her pronunciation. Although the five song E.P. has picked up steam, selling out two live launches, it wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. According to Helen, she just wanted to record something that she could take over east on three monthly cycles and visit her mum who she hasn’t seen since 2019 due to the Corona Virus outbreak. Helen divulged further saying the whole purpose of the E.P. was to give a sample of something to promote on the east coast and get onto radio stations so that the duo could get gigs on the east coast to fund the multiple trips back and forth. “It was never meant to be this big a deal, we kind of grew into it, we liked it…” she said.
Overall, if you like easy listening music that has meaning, soft harmonies or you needed music to help you wind down after a long day, Helen Townsend and Shannon Smith’s music is the way to go.
All touring and social media information can be found in the description of the article.
Click the link to read the story on January Artist of the Month - Vancool Socials: Instagram: @vancoolmusic Facebook: Vancool Spotify: Vancool
Click the link to read the story on Artist of the Month for February, The Dirty Stop Outs! For tickets and tour information follow their social media here: Instagram: @thedirtystopouts Facebook: The Dirty Stop Outs
Click here to read the story on Artists of the Month for March - Nevertheless Follow them and find ticket links and tour information at Instagram: @Neverthelessband Spotify: Nevertheless Facebook: Nevertheless
Image Credit: NATALIJA BRUNOVS Click the link to read the story on April's Artist of the Month - Palo Alto Social Media: Instagram: @paloaltotheband Facebook: Palo Alto - Band Spotify: Palo Alto Find Tour information on the social media accounts or type this link into search browser: https://paloaltotheband.com/shows
Click the link to read the story on Helen Townsend and Shannon Smith Touring and ticket information can be found on Facebook and Instagram Social Media: Facebook - Helen Townsend Music Instagram - helentownsendmusic Spotify - Helen Townsend
January - Vancool
The Dirty Stop Outs
March - Nevertheless
April - Palo Alto
May - Helen Townsend
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