Music: Happy Flow

Misner & Smith revels in inspiration on new album

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Misner & Smith created their new album ‘headwaters’ to pay tribute to artists who have influenced them, like Gram Parsons, Neil Young and Patty Griffin.

Misner & Smith created their new album ‘headwaters’ to pay tribute to artists who have influenced them, like Gram Parsons, Neil Young and Patty Griffin.

Longtime collaborators Sam Misner and Megan Smith have shared stages since meeting at a Shakespeare festival in 2002, and for the past decade, they’ve made a name, or names, for themselves with a rich, resonant Americana sound under the moniker Misner & Smith.

Last month, the duo released their fifth full-length album, headwaters, which travels back to the source of their musical yearnings with eight illuminating acoustic covers of classic and contemporary tunes that all had a part in their songwriting sojourn. Misner & Smith will showcase these songs in an afternoon album release show at Rancho Nicasio on Sunday, November 19.

Misner & Smith’s previous four albums were comprised of original compositions full of compelling storytelling and evocative harmonies. “We wanted to show the range of stuff that’s influenced us,” Misner says of the new album. “We don’t linger in any one genre in our original music, which can be tricky sometimes for marketing. But we pride ourselves on that diversity of music.”

The duo also chose a covers album as a way to inspire themselves after emptying the well of creativity on their last album, 2013’s Seven Hour Storm. “We threw everything we had at that album,” Smith says. “Which was fun because we made our dream album, but when we were finished with it, we were exhausted. Doing this album has kickstarted a lot of that inspiration again by revisiting stuff we love so much. Now, we have a whole handful of new songs, and we are feeling full.”

Misner & Smith performs with a full band on Nov. 19 at Rancho Nicasio, 1 Old Rancheria Rd., Nicasio; 4pm; free; RSVP recommended; 415/662-2219.

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