Zack Smith and Caitlin Doyle-Smith are a happy-loving married couple who make up the musical dog-loving Americana duo Smooth Hound Smith. They have recently released their third LP, “Dog in a Manger” on the Tone Tree label.
Yes, their sound is smooth, and this is a delightful record that moves through several styles. There’s the swampy-sounding “Three Shades of Lonely” with Mississippi All-Star, Luther Dickinson, and a sweet soft-sounding cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News.” The song for the money for me though is the power-poppy “One in the Morning” which you can check out here.
11 Questions just loves getting a “two-for-one” like this, and thanks Zack and Caitlin for accepting the challenge. They will be at Lightning 100’s “Live on the Green” this Sunday, September 1, and like most great acts, will be making a couple of appearances during our upcoming Americanafest. See them—you will love them!
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
Zack: I’m originally from Santa Monica, CA. I moved to Nashville in 2011 for the first time and then back again in 2013. I initially wanted a fresh musical start. I felt stagnant in LA and complacent working a job at a bar, and I had just begun writing songs. I was self-conscious about it and wanted to be somewhere where I didn’t know a soul. Coming from LA, I also appreciated the lack of traffic, though that has now sort of backfired.
Caitlin: I moved to Nashville in 2013 after meeting this guy (Zack) and falling in love. I’m originally from Fresno, CA, but had lived in LA for about 12 years when I wanted a new adventure. Our chemistry was undeniable!
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
Zack: I may have received the Jurassic Park soundtrack for Christmas one year, when I was like eight or nine. But, the first record I got because I really, truly, enjoyed the music was probably either a cassette of Nirvana’s Nevermind or the Paul Simon compilation album, Negotiations and Love Songs 1971-1986. Really felt all those songs and still do. I have so much stuff and musical gear now that I try to be really intentional with buying physical music, but the last thing I bought was a Meters record I found at an estate sale.
Caitlin: The first CD’s I remember buying were The Breeders, Jill Sobule and Joan Osborne. All of whom I still love, and they continue to stay relevant. At that time there were kinda slim pickings for female pop/rock bands and artists. That glass ceiling is being shattered, and it’s so exciting to watch! I do miss The Warehouse and Tower Records and just physical music stores in strip malls next to Mervyns, Anchor Blue and K-Mart! Kids these days are missing out!
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
Zack: My first concert was when I was in 5th grade. There’s a radio station in LA called KROQ, and they put on a Christmas festival every year (KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas) with all the hot bands of the day. It was 1996 at the now-defunct Universal Amphitheater. Bush, 311, Beck, Cake, and Eels all played, but I remember getting there just a few minutes after doors opened, and The Wallflowers were there on stage, mid-set, playing this huge venue to probably 40 people. That was the first moment of music on a grand scale that I remember seeing–my first “concert.” I immediately fell in love with live music. Last live show was last night here in Nashville at The Basement East. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears ripped a hell of a set. We danced our asses off, and my ears are still ringing.
Caitlin: The first concert I saw was BOYZ II MEN with Brandy. It was 1995, and I was in 7th grade. I got her back-up dancers’ autographs! I felt so cool! Still do! Last one I went to was an impromptu date with Zack. I won tickets to see Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears. It was such a blast!
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Zack: Guy Fieri.
Caitlin: I think Chris Gaines is LONG overdue for a place in the Music City Walk of Fame!
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Zack: We live on the East side, so for coffee, Dose is close to our home and super good, and I think they have incredible pastries. Sip Cafe is also killer if you wanna do a chocolate malt with espresso added and then hate yourself later. For pizza, there’s really only one right answer, and that’s Five Points Pizza and don’t forget the habanero cream sauce!
Caitlin: Same as Z on that one!
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Zack: That first Alabama Shakes record they made here was pretty mind-blowing, especially having just moved to town around then, seeing what was possible here. But, Blonde on Blonde is probably the conservative answer, right?
Caitlin: Oh man, my favorite record to come out of Nashville? I have to go with the new Kasey Musgraves. It’s been a while since I was so moved by and album!
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Zack: Cookout drive through, slice window at Five Points Pizza, or good old Taco Bell.
Caitlin: Late night eats! Homemade nachos!
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Zack: The talent level here for local songwriters is pretty bananas. Man, I’d have to say Kyshona, Guthrie Brown, and Leah Blevins. But, if you asked me this same question tomorrow, I’d easily have a different three.
Caitlin: If I could pick an “In the Round,” it would be Emily West, Brian Wright and Molly Tuttle!
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Zack: Both Basement venues and 3rd and Lindsley are outstanding. And, the first time we sold out EXIT/IN, I hadn’t really felt energy like that ever on stage. But, my favorite moment at a venue has to be when we opened for The Dixie Chicks at Bridgestone Arena in 2016. The first time I moved to Nashville, back in 2011/2012, I would busk on Broadway for extra cash with a harmonica player friend of mine, literally outside Bridgestone sometimes. Then, here we are on stage in front of 20,000 people just a few years later. Damn.
Caitlin: Besides Bridgestone Arena. One of the best and most rewarding local shows we played was at the Nashville Humane Society to a bunch of “puppers” on the day of our album release for Dog in A Manger! Can we take them all home?
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
Zack: I’d like to see my brother move here. Or maybe Pitbull.
Caitlin: Selfishly, Robert Ellis and the band, Hiss Golden Messenger and Laura Marling! So, I could stalk them all; urgh, I mean see them play live!
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Zack: Lots of touring all over the world, some rock ’n’ roll, some quiet acoustic shows, sweating profusely, noise, collaborating, sitting in a van, being uncomfortable sometimes, and hopefully writing songs I can be proud of for years to come.
Caitlin: In the future I would love to have a family band! Wouldn’t that be fun!