Heaven and Earth is one band that stays true to their roots. In their music, one can hear the influences of some of the most iconic bands to ever grace the music world. The band is comprised of some of the most talented musicians in the business including Chuck Wright, Arlan Schierbaum, Joe Retta, Stuart Smith and Richie Onori. Their sound is something that’s all their own. The band's latest album, Dig (Quarto Valley Records), is receiving excellent reviews from both fans and critics alike. The album was produced by Dave Jenkins and features several special guests including Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), David Paich (Toto) and Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers). In a recent interview with guitarist Stuart Smith, he talked about his start in music, Heaven and Earth’s latest album and much more.
British born Smith began his musical journey at the young age of seven when he first began playing guitar. He had planned on taking after his father and becoming a jet fighter pilot, but because of his color blindness, he wasn’t able to follow in his footsteps. However, Smith has become a highly regarded guitarist through a combination of natural talent and hard work.
Very early in his career, Smith had the pleasure of meeting Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) after a show. From that moment on, Blackmore became a mentor to him. “It was the same sort of music and the same style that I always wanted to play,” Smith said, “I’m probably one of the few people in the world who grew up with a poster of someone on their wall, ended up meeting them, becoming friends with them, and getting mentored by them.”
Soon after relocating to the United States, Smith found himself among some of the most sought after guitar players in Los Angeles. He resigned from the band Sweet in 2012 to put his full focus into Heaven and Earth, which is something he is very proud of. As for the latest album, Dig, Smith said, “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life musically.”
When it came to songwriting for the new album, Smith worked on the main riffs and recorded everything on a small digital recorder. The band emailed mp3’s back and forth until they had just the right sound. There are many excellent tracks on the album including “Victorious,” “No Money No Love,” and “I Don’t Know What Love Is.” It’s an album that is well written, and all of the songs are stand outs. One of his favorite songs to perform live is “Victorious” because it’s “technically challenging for the guitar.”
Smith has been a part of the music business through its many ups and downs. He has some great advice for up and coming musicians: “Play with as many people as possible, and people who are better than you. Learn different styles of music. Don’t do drugs and don’t drink too much.”
Be sure to check out the new album. It's real music for the real music fan, and it won't disappoint.
Heaven and Earth is Chuck Wright (bass), Arlan Schierbaum (keyboards), Joe Retta (vocals), Stuart Smith (guitar) and Richie Onori (drums)
For more information, check out the band’s website HERE