Like most musicians right now, singer-songwriter Isaac Smith has had to put music on hold for the last six months. Whether it’s gigging in Savannah, playing out of town, engineering concerts, or curating shows at the Roasting Room in Bluffton, almost everything music related in his life had come to a complete stop. It hasn’t been all bad, though.
"I’ve been fortunate enough to have a position at Perk Coffee Roasters, so I’ve maintained a busy day’s schedule making coffee, drinking coffee, selling coffee, all coffee related, and in that getting to listen to some fun jams on the vinyl radio player that we have set up," said Smith.
"While I’m not playing music and I’m very sad to not have that as a weekly part of my life, I’m staying caffeinated and at least listening to music and being inspired by others. It’s not the worst thing."
In some of his free time, Smith has been working on new music, writing songs, practicing guitar, learning covers, and exploring the potential of his piano. Smith’s process usually includes testing out new material at open mics and more intimate venues for feedback, but that, of course, has been impossible lately.
"I don’t want it to sound super creative because like probably most artists, let’s face it, most people, I think we all have our bouts of depression during this COVID-19 for not being able to hang out with people and do the things that you love," Smith reflected.
"It’s been difficult, to say that least, so sometimes it’s inspiring for me to write and sometimes it’s inspiring me not to write, and just not give in to it. I don’t won’t want to fluff that up like I’m writing all this music because I have all this free time. There’s definitely some sadness there, too — but maybe that reflects in the new music I’ll put out soon."
Smith has been making music since he relocated to Savannah from Atlanta and formed a band with his friends. Smith released an EP, "Magnolia Bloom" in 2014 and followed it up with his debut full-length album, "Young or Old" in 2017, which was a warm, heartfelt collection of soulful folk and American Rock Pop.
The local live music scene is slowly beginning to return to life which has allowed Smith to get together with his band again. Smith recently played his first gig in a long time at Service Brewing.
"It was wonderful," Smith said of the show. "We all had a great time, of course, but we all just had smiles on our face...it was the first time I saw the band in six months."
Smith’s band includes Ethan Stewart on guitar and Robert Saunders on drums, with the addition of Montrel Jenkins on bass.
"We didn’t practice, we didn’t rehearse, we didn’t put a set-list together," Smith continued. "I said, ‘We’ve been doing this for awhile. Let’s just see what happens.’ Of course, it created an itch to play music together and have a good time."
Smith is scratching that itch with a free outdoor concert at Collins Quarter at Forsyth. The three hour gig will see the band playing Smith’s originals, as well as covers by artists as diverse as Kings of Leon and Robyn.
"We feel very lucky and very fortunate to do it," said Smith. "More than making an income from it, it’s just a joy to do it and play with the boys again.
"No matter the content that we may sing about, it could be a song about love or heartbreak, I think the presentation and delivery can always be about kindness, and always be about uplifting people. Everyone goes through stuff in life, and right now, everyone happens to be going through one of the same things together—the pandemic. If we can promote kindness in any form possible, whether it’s smiling while singing, and ghost shaking hands from a distance, that’s a little bit of kindness in itself...everyone could use a little kindness, hope, love and forgiveness."