From an outsider’s viewpoint, Joshua Smith’s career path makes little sense.
He’s worked his way into the Tribehouse Artists’ Collective, Bo.ttega and the local singer/songwriter scene, primarily over the last two years, and is now included on a new Christmas CD Tribehouse has just issued, and headlining the Bo.ttega Christmas Concert this weekend.
Yet living in Nashville, he didn’t even make his own music.
“I really started focusing on my music five years ago and I’ve been gigging lots ever since,” he said. “I was raised on James Taylor and Led Zeppelin and the Beatles and then I throw in my own acoustic flavour…
“I have a very acoustic soul; it’s very kind of mellow and folk at the root.”
Nashville may be the land where musicians are made and artists’ songs get played, but it took a special formula of community feel, city options and sunshine to make this Canadian kid’s muse.
Or as he explains his love for the Okanagan:
“It still has that small town mentality, but in a big enough city to have some fun. It’s a just a great little spot.”
Smith is originally from Halifax, the kind of musician who was hearing music in the womb. He can’t remember a day when someone wasn’t strumming a note. He’s Joni Mitchell meets Paul Simon with a little of the young bearded musician who bought a guitar named Ellie at a pawn shop and wound up with a six-song EP—Songs for Ellie, released earlier this year.
The CD is hopeful, a little on the mournful side and with a curious old soul feel his youthful appear, bearded or not, certainly conceals.
And it was popular. When he took the stage at a recent talent competition held at the Pheasant and Quail Pub, and hosted by the Creative Okanagan Artists and Event Development Society, he was lauded by an audience of fans obviously quite familiar with his low-key strum.
One can see it this weekend at the Bo.ttega Christmas concert, an evening event following on the heels of the second annual Christmas Market, which will run Saturday, Dec. 15 and Sunday, Dec. 16. The event will also serve as a launch for the latest Tribehouse effort, a Christmas CD featuring artists like Smith, Nico Boesten, Brent Taylor, Raquel Warchol, Corey Doak, Norm Strauss, Graham and Aaron Ord, Ryan Donn, Jess Padget, Johanna Olson and Jordan Leibel, and Michaela Burger.
The CD was released this week—download cards will be on hand at the event and are available at the Streaming Café—and raises money for the Kelowna Food Bank.
The market includes Christmas carols, an art show, live music and lots of good European food. From savoury baking to Glog wine, artisan coffee to stollen bread, Bo.tegga will showcase its German connection, though the artists included are all local.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bo.tegga, 4485 Swallows Road in East Kelowna, and will be followed by the Sunday Christmas concert.
Working collaboratively, Graham Ord, Ari Neufeld and Smith will offer up seasonal inspired songs, stories and carols beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets for the Christmas concert Sunday evening can be purchased at the Streaming Café, Mosaic Books or ordered online. Admission to the market is $2.