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Jonah Smith: Progressive and Accessible

Jonah Smith.
Jonah Smith.

With a soulful vocal delivery and a Fender Rhodes at his fingertips, New York City songwriter Jonah Smith has brought together a variety of classic influences to craft a unique and modern sound. A devotee of pop, soul and jazz, Smith writes songs that are best categorized as "roots music," as he skillfully blends fundamental elements into a sound that's both progressive and accessible.

Smith relocated from Boston to New York in 2000 and quickly got to work assembling a backup band to perform his compositions. Accompanied by saxophone, bass, guitar and drums, Smith and his band began attracting notice for their blue-eyed soul and Nashville-inspired Americana. As the group honed its skills performing around the city, Smith's songwriting continued to evolve and mature, as heard on 2003's Beneath the Underdog.

The Relix label soon came calling, and earlier this summer released Smith's self-titled CD. With guest appearances by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and fiddler/vocalist Carrie Rodriguez, the disc blends distinctive American music styles with engaging songwriting.

Copyright 2006 XPN

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David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.