ABOUT

 

 

 

 

 

Oakes and Smith are a musical match made in heaven. The harmonious blend of their voices creates an ethereal sound and unique quality not often heard in today’s popular music. Combining this with soulful songs that they call ‘lyrical and inspirational meditations,’ Oakes and Smith bring forth a sense of wonder, expressing themes of love, creativity, mystery and an appreciation of natural beauty.

Kylee Colvin of The Levity Ball remarked, “Oakes and Smith have the ability to bring a sense of calm and ease to the air...with songs so full of wisdom and true emotions.”

The duo has performed at The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, MA; the NJ Folk Project in Morristown, NJ; Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, CT; FloydFest in Floyd, VA; Andrea Clearfield’s Salon in Philadelphia; The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA; and has appeared weekly at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA since March 2014, among many other appearances near their home in Western Massachusetts and beyond. For up-to-date information about upcoming shows, click here.

At the heart of this project are a strong bond of love and a passion to pursue the creative calling. Oakes and Smith hope to inspire listeners and remind them that peace, sincerity and beauty are still very much alive in the world.


Between the Earth and the Sky

On February 2, 2016, the duo released their fourth collection of songs, Between the Earth and the Sky. Co-produced with Jemal Wade Hines of HuDost, the EP was mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Oz Fritz, mastered by Dale Becker of Becker Mastering, and features a performance by acclaimed vocalist Jon Anderson of Yes. One of the songs from this EP, Never Let the Light Die, has been on high rotation on Soul Traveller Radio. And critics have given it warm praise:

“The duo’s chemistry is well and clearly still in place, arguably more than ever before, because (this) is one of their best releases yet.”
— Cody Conard, The Big Takeover Magazine

“emotional, heartfelt music that touches the soul...(they) have such beautiful and incredible voices that blend perfectly to the point that they become one whole voice...(this EP) makes you think, and it makes you feel.”
— Anthony Avina, On Request Magazine

“Katherine’s vocals are so pure and clear, they almost crystallize in your head. Her voice...holds deep emotion and wisdom.” — Annie Rew Shaw, Echoes and Dust

“...it SOUNDS like love...they have a very unified, comforting and natural sound…you can’t help but hear the connection they have to each other…and to the music they make; ‘So Beautiful,’ it truly is.” — Sleeping Bag Studio

Both Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith were born into musical families and started performing and writing at a very young age.

Katherine, whose grandfather, great aunts and uncles, father and mother all sang, started harmonizing as a teenager with her parents' Connecticut-based choral group. She then went on to perform musical theater pieces and jazz and pop songs in high school and college productions. Katherine has also combined her love of singing with an affinity for writing, visual art, stagecraft and acting.


Robert began as a kid singing and playing bass guitar in his blues-and-jazz-singing father's band. Later, he sang and played in countless garage bands with his brother and friends from surrounding New Jersey towns before going on to self-produce several albums of original songs and perform in many New York City-area venues. Robert's been writing stories, songs and poems for as long as he can remember, a passion that continues to this day.

They both relocated to the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, a peaceful place filled with natural and cultural beauty, which very much influences their sound and creative process. Ever since their first — unexpected — meeting there during the summer of 2007, they have both felt like there were unseen hands drawing them together to create something more than each were doing on their own. Since then, they have continued to let themselves be led along a path of collaboration, staying open and saying 'yes' to the possibilities it offered. 

They tried out the duo act idea for the first time in 2010 at a performance workshop in New York City led by singer and teacher Joy Askew (Peter Gabriel, Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson), who reacted very favorably to their sound. Encouraged, they continued arranging existing material for their two voices and also writing new songs together, and the Oakes and Smith duo was born.


First Flight

The duo's debut album, First Flight, released in November 2013, was received warmly by listeners and critics alike.

“...a beautiful folk effort with lush, multi-instrumental arrangements and stunning melodies in their vocal duets." — Brian Lion, Under the Gun Review

“Melodically eloquent and profound…the sound is…poignant.”
— Kevin Tshiamala, Hear Magazine

First Flight is full of descriptive storytelling and flawless harmonies...it is a beautiful record rich with feeling...” — Laurie Fanelli, Veggie Fans

 "There are a million folk bands out there today, but few as interesting as Oakes and Smith. Unafraid to do their own thing, or even add influences from other genres, Oakes and Smith have created a fine album with First Flight."
— Cody Conard, The Big Takeover

The album features a varied cast of players and a powerful, collaborative production team. The project was started at The Isokon Studio in Woodstock, NY where D. James Goodwin (Norah Jones, Kaki King) and Eli Walker engineered and Thom Soriano helped with production. Later, Jason Loughlin (Amos Lee, Rachael Yamagata, Lesley Gore) joined the project, helping with production, editing and playing electric guitar. Editing and overdubs continued at their home in the Berkshires, where Justin Hillman engineered. The album was mixed by Oz Fritz, who, among many other accolades, worked on the Grammy award-winning album Mule Variations by Tom Waits. The album was mastered by Garrett Haines, who mastered a song on the Grammy-winning compilation album, All About Bullies...Big and Small. Throughout the final phase of production, Oakes and Smith were assisted by Jemal Wade Hines of the band HuDost.