Scott Smith is one of Vancouver's most accomplished guitar players. Over the past 20 years or so he's won followers with stints in the Bughouse Five, the Surfdusters, Bottleneck, the Blue Rich Rangers, Rock 'n' Roll Circus, and Terminal Station. As well as delving into rockabilly, surf, and blues-rock, Smith's wide-open approach to music currently has him backing Canadian country star Aaron Pritchett.
Besides his deft handling of the six-string, he plays a pretty mean pedal-steel guitar, making him a highly valued session player.
As Smith explained to the Straight from his East Van home recently, the inspiration for his musical career can be traced back to when he was in Grade 5 and he first saw the video for Stevie Ray Vaughan's 1984 single "Cold Shot". That's the goofy clip where a guitar-obsessed SRV drives his plus-sized girlfriend nuts, winding up in the hospital for ignoring her.
"If I watched it now I'd probably be like, 'Oh my god, they made this video for $140," says Smith, "but that's what really got me into playing guitar. So I kinda started with blues as opposed to getting to blues through whatever route some people might go. Like they might start off listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something and then work their way back.
"But Stevie Ray Vaughan made me want to play guitar. And then the great thing about him was that his interviews in guitar magazines would tell you all his influences. He'd talk about Albert King, so then I'd check out Albert King. And then I'd see about Hendrix and Freddie King. And then he might mention Robert Johnson. So just from reading his interviews you find yourself going back further and further until you're suddenly listening to like late-'20s blues, Son House and stuff."
The musical journey Smith set out on after discovering Stevie Ray Vaughan has culminated in the release of a new Terminal Station album titled Brotherhood. To hear more about Smith's latest work see the feature story on him in this week's issue of the Georgia Straight. Read it on paper for that old-school Stevie Ray vibe.