The Smoking Flowers

Album Title: 
2 Guns
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Review Type: 

I ain't sure when exactly this band first set foot on a stage (because info about that is simply missing), but Kim and Scott Collins (the husband-wife couple at the core of it) have been married for 14 years (got engaged only 6 months after meeting each other the first time...when Scott came looking for a summer job at Nashville's 12th & Porter venue, where Kim happened to be the floor manager at the time), and both were already active in music at the time. In fact, they are also founders of the Rock/ Alt Country act Pale Blue Dot, among other projects.

Scott actually hails from Missouri, being raised near Highway 61, aware of the importance and significance of the landmark in American Music (he even attended Elvis' funeral at the age of 3). In his young 20s, he got passionate about the work of Neil Young, and followed his dreams to New York in an attempt to make a career in music, before being lured to Nashville by his brother in order to start a band there. Kim cites influences ranging from Led Zeppelin to Gillian Welch, and from The Ramonesto Linda Rondstadt, and in fact only a couple of years ago, she was considered by Robert Plant for the female vocalist of his Band Of Joy project. As things worked out, the job eventually went to Kim's friend Patti Griffin...which was the beginning of another love story.

Collectively among past and current projects, the couple has opened for very diverse artists, including song-smiths Indigo Girls and Ben Folds Five, Underground Post-Punk act Concrete Blonde, Soulful Rock bands such as The Black Keys and The Black Crows, straight-forward Rock acts such as The Strokes, and Reggae legend Ziggy Marley. As The Smoking Flowers, they released their debut album Sweet As Port in January 2009. Apparently, The Smoking Flowers goes on the road in two formats : either as a full-fledged band with extra musicians, or as a mere couple (dragging along a plethora of instruments with Kim switching between accordion, acoustic guitar, drums, mandolin and harmonica. Scott plays both acoustic and electric guitar).

Stylistically, the duo differs from your usual Americana/ Country couple, in that some f the songs get an extra Punky vibe through the electric guitar that's played in it. Scott has a voice which is somewhat reminiscent of Neil Young, but Kim brings in vocal variety with a voice that can be fierce at one, and absolutely tender at another moment. Now, there's a story behind the photos displayed on the album, as well as to its title. You see, 2 Guns is apparently a ghost town at the original dirt road that later became Route 66, and the couple happenstanced upon it on one of their spontaneous trips into Arizona. But, you can read more about the story at either the band's own site (www.), or their facebook page (link via own website). For your musical acquaintance with the band, check the “Music” section on the bands website for a player with 6 songs off the debut album or, even better, take the “Band Camp” link and listen to the complete album. I'm pretty sure the current album (which was originally planned for a Spring 2012 release – read more about the delay's reasons in the above mentioned places) is stylistically quite alike its predecessor.