Emerging Providence-based rockers Smith & Weeden are not only making their Tweed debut, they will be making their first-ever festival appearance. Guitarists Jesse Emmanuel Smith and Seamus Weeden, joined by bassist Ollie Williams and drummer Dylan Sevey, are a bar-band in the best sense of the word. Live and on record, they play straight-up rock and roll filled with energy and authenticity. Their self-titled debut album made our list of favorite Boston/New England releases in 2014.
Both Smith and Weeden reveal their favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors and share their thoughts on playing their very first festival.
This is your first time playing the Tweed River Music Festival. What, if any, expectations do you have for the experience?
(Smith) I don’t really have any expectations aside from spending a weekend camping with friends and enjoying good music in beautiful Vermont countryside. Prior to living in Providence I spent around ten years living ten minutes away from the Vermont border so I spent a lot of time as a young adult in the hills around there. Happy to get a chance hang out up there again!
(Weeden) I’m expecting to see some great sets by all of our friends that are performing. We have been lucky enough to play shows and hang out with almost every artist playing Tweed this year and I gotta say this is truly a top notch line up of musicians. More importantly its an awesome group of people who are doing really great stuff in all their own ways coming together to put on a totally kick ass festival!
Are there any particular artists that you are particularly excited to see perform at Tweed this year?
(Smith) Uhhh yeaaaaa. Are there any I’m not? I mean there’s only a few names on the festival aren’t already our pals so obviously excited to see all of them but I’ve been hearing good things about Lydia Loveless and Jesse Dee so I’m looking forward to checking them out.
(Weeden) I’m stoked to see all the sets but especially Joe Fletcher, the Curtis Mayflower and my boys the Silks who always deliver the goods.
Vermont is a haven for outdoor sports and activities year-round. Are there any outdoor sports/activities that you especially enjoy when you’re not working?
(Smith) Haha yea! I worked at Mt. Snow as a snowboard instructor and then as a terrain park ranger for the better part of high school and college. I LOVE snowboarding. Sadly between working full time and a rather serious music habit, I’ve very rarely gotten to go in recent years. Other than favorite Vermont outdoors activities include but not limited to hiking , jumping off cliffs into bodies of water, tossin’ around the “frizz” on a sunny day with my bros, and hacky-sacking on the village common. (Those last two were jokes. Or were they??)
(Weeden) I’ve lived in city’s for most of the last ten years but I grew up in western Massachusetts and have always had a love for the outdoors, I enjoy a nice “hike” or “walk” in the woods, looking at cool trees and rocks and stuff.
What is your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor?
(Smith) Easy. Cherry Garcia. Next question?
(Weeden) That superfudge chocolate chunk one!
Do you think differently about festival shows than you do about regular shows?
(Smith) Honestly, I’ve never really been to any festivals, aside from working at Newport folk fest the past two years but I feel NFF isn’t typical either. I’ve always been more of a three to four band at a club/venue kind of guy for fear that given too many options my ADD might kick in and my head would explode. So yea I don’t know what to think about them, this is our first festival! Looking forward to it though.
(Weeden) We haven’t technically played any music festivals but we’ve played many outdoor stages before. I love playing outside. There’s something about the open air that can make our vocals blend in a really cool way. Other than that I don’t think its much different than planning for a club show.
Tweed has always been a festival that is built around community. How would you describe the music community in your home town/town where you live? How has it, if at all, influenced your music?
(Smith) It’s great! So much good stuff and enough good venues to keep a lot of great local bands afloat. Providence has the best musical community I’ve been a part of yet. So much talent, and super supportive.
(Weeden) I haven’t done a ton of traveling playing music yet but the more I do the smaller the music world is. The music community in Providence is great. There’s some really talented folks here that inspire me. I think that has influenced me to try and be a better player and performer.
How does “location” fit into your songwriting?
(Smith) Place always effects experience and I try to draw mainly on my experience in my writing whether it’s a fictional piece or autobiographical. So place will always sink in there somewhere. I think if you listen closely to our last record and have spent anytime in Providence you will catch it’s reflection all through the songs.
Here are Smith & Weeden rockin’ a Providence park. The song is “Aim to Please” from their debut album.
Tweed River Music Festival is less a showcase for bands and more a celebration of everything that great music embodies: the deeply personal link between artist and fan, the spirit of community and cooperation and, yes, the magical atmosphere of a great show in a stunning setting.
Set on a bucolic swath of land nestled between the Green and Northfield Mountains in the Mad River Valley in Waitsfield, VT, the 2015 Tweed River Music Festival will host more than 30 acts, including staples such as Bow Thayer, Tim Gearan, Andrea Gillis, White Dynomite and The Curtis Mayflower, while also welcoming Bloodshot Records recording artist Lydia Loveless, Vermont natives Waylon Speed and Alligator Records recording artist (and Boston native) Jesse Dee. Other great musical acts include Joe Fletcher, JP Harris and The Tough Choices, Caitlin Canty and ANTI Records recording artist Christopher Paul Stelling.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.