Cyd Smith, Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist
Born and raised in the once-thriving metropolis of Syracuse, NY, Cyd survived adolescence by studying classical guitar, all the while absorbing the music of Jimi Hendrix and Dave Brubeck, not to mention the sounds of the Big Band radio station her mother preferred. The classical guitar path led her to the West Coast where, for a couple of years, she majored in music at Stanford University before becoming distracted by a boyfriend who introduced her to the rich treasury of American roots music: Bluegrass, Jug Band, Country Blues, Vintage Country-Western, and eventually Swing Jazz, where she found a home, playing in many Swing and Western Swing Bands throughout the Northwest. Cyd has blended all of these sonic ingredients into her own unique brew of songwriting and guitar playing. She is an explorer of the unexpected--lyrically, harmonically, and melodically.
Cyd has performed with many luminaries of the national acoustic music scene, including Laurie Lewis, Mary Flower, Rebecca Kilgore, and Matt Glaser. Although she has flown under the radar, preferring a day job to the demands of a full-time musical career, she is treasured by lovers of unpredictable artistry. She currently lives in Seattle and performs as a soloist and with Casey MacGill and The Swing Bringers.
“One of the most brilliant innovators in the field of songwriting… She takes a jazz/swing sensibility and adds dimensions that are right out of this planet to it. Think of one of the muses living on Venus and hearing swing music, what would she do with it, where would she take it? That is the essence of what Cyd Smith is as an artist.” Penny Nichols-founder of Summer/Winter Songs East/West
“Your CD is breathtaking. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this delighted by a new recording.” Bob Franke
“Like so many of the great women guitarists of the past-Mary Osborne, say, or Memphis Minnie-when you finally hear Cyd Smith, you’ll wonder why you never heard this excellent musician until now.” Del Rey
"A sort of Sheila Jordan of the folk/jazz beat, Cyd weds her flutey voice and alluring turns of phrase to a run of crisp rhythms, all propelled by indomitable guitar and lyrics that look sideways at life with a sharp, smart edge." Paul de Barros
A passion for swing and zeal for passing on the swing torch has made Cyd a favorite teacher at music camps throughout the US. The long list of camps she has taught at include Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Coast Music Camp, SummerSongs West, Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp,, and Augusta Blues & Swing Week.
Here are some more responses to her music:
- "An extremely gifted songwriter from the Northwest, Cyd Smith sometimes sounds like a missing Roche sister on her fine self-produced CD.” The Bay Area Guardian
- “There’s no simple formula to Cyd Smith’s songs; refreshing, unpredictable, and quirky, they’re great songs that really work.” Laurie Lewis
- "I'm having a great time re-listening while admiring your breathtaking lyrics. Ahhhh!!! So many brilliant lines! You are so wonderfully unique!!! Kristina Olsen
- “Cyd is one of the sharpest songwriters you are likely to hear…she not only delivers her material in a uniquely alluring voice, her tasteful arrangements move from sensuous bluesy to hip and funky. Her songs are full of emotional tension, some tender, some tough, all impeccably crafted.” Sue Madden, radio programmer for KBCS, Seattle, WA
- "Because of Cyd’s background I was expecting to hear jazz and swing tunes, but these songs aren’t so easily pigeonholed. I’d call them pop songs, but that doesn’t do them justice; there’s a richness and depth that I haven’t heard in pop songs for a long time. They’re not fluff, but they’re not stuffy art songs, either. They’re filled with gorgeous melodies, spry rhythms and lush harmonies...They’re just great songs!" Victory Music Review
- “This is not your typical self-produced singer/songwriter project. There are no songs about war, old age, or the environment, yet this isn't another batch of love songs either. Cyd’s view of the human condition is presented with off-beat arrangements and on-target lyrics that continually jolted me like a swift but gentle kick in the butt. Here is loneliness with humor, love with no illusions, and tears that fall at different angles. . . This recording is full of surprises, and though the word ‘refreshing’ is overused in reviews, it certainly applies here.” Gryphon Gazette