Twenty years ago, I became fascinated by a new CD that I discovered at Virgin Records at Triangle Square (Costa Mesa, CA), in their HUGE classical room in the back of the store. It was playing in store (in the room), and I was immediately absorbed by the minimalist approach of the pianist, and the operatic vocal prowess of the woman singing. The CD was called 15 Wild Decembers. The musician’s name is Geoff Smith. The operatic voice was that of his wife, Nicola Walker-Smith.
15 Wild Decembers is a collection of eight tracks composed by Geoff Smith, with all of the lyrics culled from literary poets and writers such as Emily Brönte, Elizabeth Siddal, and Percey Shelley. The album consists of five vocal tracks using the literary words, and the remaining three are extraordinary piano pieces. You can read my original review of the album, written in 2007, twelve years after its release. That’s some staying power when an album doesn’t leave your head.
To backtrack, when the album released and I had heard it play in Virgin’s classical department, I bought it. Not long afterward, I designed a website featuring Geoff Smith and whatever information I could glean concerning his history, his music, and his plans for other works. Soon, Geoff Smith caught sight of the webpage, and supplied me with information and music. In essence, a site featuring Geoff Smith’s music was the forerunner of MusicTAP.
Not long afterward, Geoff Smith expanded and formed The Geoff Smith Band. Their next album on Sony Classical, called Black Flowers, was released in 1997. Since that album, we have heard little musically from Geoff Smith as he never released another album. (Geoff Smith has a previous album to 15 Wild Decembers, released back in 1993, called Gas.Food.Lodging. It was released via KitchenWare Records.)
In 2013, I posted a reprint of the 2007 review. It was that reprint that led to Geoff Smith recontacting me, directing me toward some new music that he and Nicola Walker-Smith had produced in the years after Black Flowers. It is my intention to direct you to those tracks in the hopes that an interest may formulate in Geoff Smith and his brilliant minimalist piano, and his wife’s haunting vocals.
The new release is called Black Is The Colour. it was released digitally on SoundCloud in 2014. Black Is The Colour contains five tracks that include “The Apple”, “Horses”, “Black Is the Colour”, “My Favorite Plum”, and “Song Of The Northern Lights”. All of these songs are much closer in nature to the songs heard on Black Flowers.
As of this writing, all albums by Geoff Smith, and The Geoff Smith Band, including Black Is The Colour, can be streamed at SoundCloud (see below)! Do yourself a favor, listen to what you will, but do not leave without listening to the whole of 15 Wild Decembers. You should absolutely listen to “Possess Me”.
What I wouldn’t give to have 15 Wild Decembers on vinyl LP!