April Smith Playing Asbury Park on December 11...A ghost onto herself
By Jenine Clancy
April Smith is not one to follow trends. Listening to her album "Songs for a Sinking Ship'' it would appear she was following the cabaret-esque type sound that many mainstream pop stars like Pink, Christina Aguilera and even Britney Spears have dabbled with the last couple years. Like an old-time magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat, do not be fooled, for Ms. Smith has been conjuring her brew of vaudeville-pop-rock for a long time. The Toms River native, whose influences range from Tom Waits to Queen, gained her epic sound and archaic-like showmanship by performing for anyone and everyone, trying to impress, as she says on her website, “her insanely talented” siblings. Her haunting, yet euphonious voice blends well with her songs that sound like they came from an era where blues and swing were at the top of the charts, a time where the Andrew Sisters performed "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and not Katy Perry. Now Living in Brooklyn, Smith will be returning to the Shore with her band, the Great Picture Show, to perform at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park on Saturday (Dec. 11). The show will be a holiday event held by “Hey Cole,” a promotional and booking service for musicians, whose founder Nicole Lipman, who after seeing Smith perform live, years ago, convinced Smith to be her very first client. Asbury Park is like a second home to bodacious singer, whose video for "Bright White Jackets',” off her first full-length "Loveletterbombs,” debuted in 2007 at the Baronet Theatre. The 97-year-old theater was demolished this September after it was determined to be an imminent hazard by city officials. In an interview with the Asbury Park Press Smith lamented on the issue: “that just makes me so mad. A lot of people, instead of restoring buildings and preserving history, they just want to tear things down and put up condos, and I think that's such a stupid thing to do.” Also adding: “How do you tear down the Baronet? I don't know, but clearly that person had no connection with history.'' History…that is why April Smith works so well in Asbury, for the era she sings about is lost in this Jersey Shore town, but like a ghost, she serves as a cultural stand-in of a time that we yearn for, but can never get back.