Recent Grad Returns to Perform Live Music at St. Lawrence
CANTON — For singer-songwriter Alex Smith ’13, growing up in Long Lake in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains conjures up two very vivid, yet distinct, characteristics of the region.
“On the one hand, I grew up in a place of amazing natural beauty that was all around me,” he said with his distinctively deep voice. “On the other hand, it’s a really awful time there economically. The disappearing of industry has affected my own family and nearly everyone around me. That combination of natural beauty and all the negative stuff in the North Country really moves you when writing music.”
Smith will bring his Adirondack-folk style of music back to St. Lawrence University for a one-night performance, which will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in Pub 56. The show is free and open to the public.
An English major and Canadian Studies minor at St. Lawrence, Smith never had any formal musical training. However, he grew up in a home immersed in music. Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan were constantly present in his childhood home.
“My whole family are musicians,” he said. “My father was a banjo player, and I started playing the guitar around the age of 12. By 17, I had started playing in North Country bars, and I even played a few shows in Canton while I was going to St. Lawrence.”
For Smith, the works of Adirondack folk legends Dan Berggren, Chris Shaw, and Peggy Lynn have been his musical inspirations, and he considers Canadian artist Stan Rogers to be one of his greatest influences.
Smith began touring about two years ago, and now he spends most of his time touring down South and around the New York City region.
“The South tends to be a better market for me,” he said. “When I get down in to Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, that’s where people will come out night after night to hear me play. Every day can’t be a weekend, so I’ve got to go where the people want to listen to my music.”
However, Smith is excited to have a brief break in his tour and to have the opportunity to bring his music back to Canton.
“I consider it a bit of a coming home,” he said. “St. Lawrence changed me drastically in four years. I became friends with people I never thought I’d be friends with before, basically with people who were not from the North Country. St. Lawrence was huge for me, and it means a lot to me to come back.”
Smith is planning to release his new album “Hamilton County” within the next few months.
To learn more about Smith and to listen to samples of his music, visit www.alexsmithlonglakemusic.com.