The duo’s LP, co-produced with Bruce Kaphan (American Music Club, David Byrne) is due out April 12th; Watch the “Anthem” music video today
“One thing that’s for sure / Though we never found a cure / We can ride out heartbreak like the weather,” sings Sam Misner, one half of the unclassifiable Northern California duo Misner & Smith, on the group’s new single, “Anthem.” Along with his longtime musical partner Megan Smith, Misner set about writing the tune that would eventually become the first single from Misner & Smith’s upcoming LP All is Song by dissecting the idea of anthemic music itself.
“I’d been thinking about the concept of anthems, how they are almost always about stirring up a sense of nationalism or rallying behind a country or a team,” Misner recalls. “Then an image popped into my head of someone needing an anthem all their own. Not an anthem that anyone else would ever hear, perhaps, but a tune to rally oneself to face the world.” The resulting song is built around swaggering drums, swirling organ, a bluegrass-inspired guitar line, and Misner’s rich, narrative-driven vocal performance—wonderfully supported in harmony by Smith, of course—which turns a terrifying concept of taking the bad stuff in life head-on into a catchy, uplifting vignette of a life lived brightly in the face of dread. “Anthem” perfectly encapsulates the beauty of Misner & Smith; the way they transform all moments—the mundane and spectacular alike—into breathtakingly beautiful music.
Yesterday, Glide Magazine shared the music video writing that, “All is Song is gearing up to be the best music of [Misner & Smith’s] career.”
More About All is Song:
Misner & Smith have been sitting with iterations of their new album All is Song for six years now. The duo began conceiving of the project in 2017, and writing came in fits and starts from that time until the pandemic slowed all activities to a halt. This unforeseen pause carried an unexpected gift amongst the chaos and tragedy of the era; Misner & Smith had time to pause, breathe, and reflect on these songs. They had time to digest them, perform them, and work on them in a way they had never imagined possible. The music went through an incubation period, and with the help of co-producer Bruce Kaphan (American Music Club, David Byrne) and the occasional guest musician, Misner & Smith found their most inspired sound to date. After digesting All is Song, the album title comes to life, and listeners can’t help but hear this philosophy everywhere: walking down the street, overhearing conversations, listening to the refrigerator grumble.
The music—every single choice on the album, really—revolves around a single question: “What is this song about?” Every sound on All is Song is in service of the songs. The harmonies are often subtle but always pitch-perfect, a key to the album that took some time to harness. “Harmony is almost like a sculpting tool. I use it as a tool to draw out the stories and the songs and draw out the characters that we’re talking about,” explains Smith. “It’s a huge part of what we do.” Misner adds, “Serving the song became the credo, so we never included a certain line, part, or harmony for its own sake. It was always, ‘How can we best serve the song? That was our lighthouse.”
All is Song Tracklist:
Deep as the Water
Rising Of The Moon
Tears and Ink
Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind
Silence Of The Sun
One Day (2024)
For all tour dates and ticket information, please visit misnerandsmith.com/shows.
More About Misner & Smith:
Misner & Smith treasure the unpredictability of their band. Technically precise songwriting mirrored with an improvisatory spirit and soaring harmonies have made the band—consisting of Sam Misner and Megan Smith—one of the most acclaimed acts in the Americana world. Blending elements of that genre with bluegrass, traditional folk ballads, and more pop-leaning ideas, Misner & Smith make music gloriously nonconforming. The duo first met at a Shakespeare festival as professional actors in California in 2002 but began working as a musical duo two years later when Sam and Megan discovered a mutual love of roots music, Woody Guthrie, and in particular, harmony singing. Leading up to the release of their sixth LP All Is Song, the duo has released five critically acclaimed records, including Halfway Home (2004), Poor Player (2008), Live at the Freight & Salvage (2010), Seven Hour Storm (2013), and headwaters (2017). It was that 2017 release that found the group stripping their sound back down to where it began, two voices and two instruments. headwaters was recorded live in the studio and features the duo doing what they do best. On All is Song, they build upon that momentum and turn in their finest work to date, an album of inspired declarations to the power of music, song, and, most importantly, collaboration.