With over two decades of professional artistry, Andrew and Brian are keen to make their mark in Europe.
But who are they I hear you ask?!
Andrew Hyra started his career with the folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim in the early 90’s. He and band partner Kristian Bush (Sugarland, Dark Water) released albums for Atlantic Records earning them multiple Top 5 singles on the AAA charts, rotation on VH1 and an extensive touring schedule throughout the US & Europe. From a very creative family (his sister is Hollywood actress Meg Ryan), Andrew has been playing music and writing great songs for many years, creating stories that are true to life and connect with audiences through his sublime lyricism.
Brian Bristow started his career in the Athens, GA music scene then moved to the stages of Atlanta, GA as a founding member of The Tastemakers. During this period of his career, he shared the stage with many national and international artists including Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf and The Romantics amongst many more notable names in the industry.
Stars are born…the formation of Smokin’ Novas
Brian was a founding member of The Highlanders where he met Andrew whilst recording their album in Athens, GA. Andrew was asked to guest on the album by singing one of the tracks at a studio in LA where he lived at the time. The pair quickly became aware of each other’s musicianship but it wasn’t until Andrew moved back to Atlanta, where Brian resides, could they really start to begin conjuring up the magic you are about to hear.
The two immediately started writing songs and the debut album resulted in poignant lyrics and slick guitar arrangements all produced by Don McCollister, a Grammy Award winning producer who has worked with Andrew on several records, most notably Billy Pilgrim’s debut album on Atlantic in 1994.
John Keane (REM, Widespread Panic) who produced The Highlanders, was prominently featured throughout the debut album playing pedal steel , electric guitar, mandolin and background vocals and he has played on nearly all of the tracks on the bands second album that was released in the spring of 2022, ‘Travel Mercies’. John also joins Smokin’ Novas when they perform as a trio.
This wonderful album features notable guests who are an impressive coterie of southern musical talent including Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton), Kristian Bush (Sugarland), and John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band) among others.
The band have now set their sights on bringing their authentic mix of folk, rock, blues and bluegrass to Europe and beyond and are ready, willing and excited for you to hear their music.
Our focus track for radio is ‘How I Know Grace’.
The Story Behind The Song
‘How I Know Grace’ features a wonderful, smoking piano solo created by the fantastic Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones musical director and keyboard player) and is a lyrical prayer of letting go of grief. It is about learning to let the spirits of our departed loved ones free and to help us accept and appreciate the beauty and grandeur of life. With moving and poignant lyrics such as “I can make you as real as the smile on my face, that is how I know Grace”, this truly is a song that we can all relate to on some level and connect with the storytelling of what is for many, a very real and emotional stage of life.