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Sat, May 04

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Stillwater

Shane Smith and the Saints

"It ain't black or white, babe; it's all the greys between," Shane Smith sings in "The Greys Between," the first single from Norther. On the surface, it's a cinematic love song about a relationship's twists and turns, punctuated by slide guitar, Appalachian fiddle, and sharp storytelling.

Shane Smith and the Saints
Shane Smith and the Saints

Time & Location

May 04, 2024, 10:30 PM – May 05, 2024, 12:00 AM

Stillwater, Lakeview &, N Country Club Rd, Stillwater, OK 74075, USA

About the event

"It ain't black or white, babe; it's all the greys between," Shane Smith sings in "The Greys Between," the first single from Norther. On the surface, it's a cinematic love song about a relationship's twists and turns, punctuated by slide guitar, Appalachian fiddle, and sharp storytelling. Take a deeper listen to Shane Smith and the Saints' fourth studio album, though, and those words also sound like the motto of a band that's spent the past decade blurring the lines between genres.

Norther is anything but monochromatic. Written and recorded during breaks in the band's touring schedule, the album captures Shane Smith and the Saints at their most colorful, offering up a hard-hitting version of American roots music that's influenced by country, folk, and roadhouse rock & roll. It's a sound that's been shaped by the road, where the Saints spent the past decade on tour, building a cult audience with each gig. Those years of raw, redemptive performances are now paying off — not only with headlining concerts at bucket-list venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater (which the group sold out in 36 hours) and the Ryman Auditorium, but also with an appearance on the hit TV show Yellowstone, where the Saints premiered Norther's final track, "Fire in the Ocean," with an onscreen performance.

"If you spend 10 years playing dive bars and small clubs almost every single night, and you go to the merch booth after every show and hang out with the fans until the staff literally kicks you out, you get to turn those fans into friends," says Smith, who grew up in Terrell, Texas, before launching his band in Austin. "That's how we built this thing. We've done as many as 240 shows in a single year. We've worked so hard to get there, and that hard work has created a beautiful, meaningful audience."

Beautiful, indeed. Named after the northern winds that blow across Texas during the winter, Norther begins with the haunting "Book of Joe." Bennett Brown's fiddle gives the song plenty of orchestral atmosphere, Dustin Schaefer's electric guitar adds anthemic punch, and Zach Stover's percussion — which builds toward a pummeling finish, locking in with Chase Satterwhite's bass along the way — rolls like thunder. At the center of that sound is Smith's voice: a husky baritone that's been textured by countless gigs in smoky bars and loud dance halls. It's a gorgeously raw instrument, caught halfway between tender and tough, and it's there — somewhere in the middle — that the Saints shine their brightest.

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