The GSBE has been featured in various on-line publications. Follow these links to read interviews and album reviews. Other great reviews and press articles are also available below.
Guy Smiley Blues prepares for Turley Park concert: July 19, 2002
The musical stylings of The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange can be summed up in one word: "Psychafunkadoobalicious," according to the band's website.
Guy Smiley, which will play 7 p.m. Thursday at Turley Park as part of the Sunset Concert series, laid its roots in 1993 in Nashville. More than 10 instruments grace the stage when Guy Smiley, a five-member ensemble, plugs in. Justin Amaral is on drums and other percussion; Patrick Dolan plays alto sax and flute; Jon Grant plays bass, synthesizers and loops; Graham Spice is on guitars, keyboard, trumpet and vocals; and Chris West plays any and all saxes, alto flute, guitar and keyboard.
"I was going to Belmont University in Nashville and was doing a lot of playing in the dorms," said Guy Smiley musician Graham Spice. "We thought that we should get together and show people what we were doing, so I formed a band."
Maybe the reason for inventing a word as obnoxious as "Psychafunkadoobalicious" is because there wasn't any word around to describe what Guy Smiley was doing on stage. The band draws sounds and rhythms from nearly every genre of music. There is a wide range of instruments to grace the stage, and audience members can expect a little bit of everything. From rock and jazz to blues, funk and Latin, Guy Smiley is well-versed in style.
Spice describes the music as groove-jazz, with just a touch of bass. Spice said some of the major influences shaping Guy Smiley are Groove Collective, Tower of Power, Wayne Shorter and Mike Clark, Paul Jackson and Stevie Nicks.
Guy Smiley has its true roots firmly planted in blues, however.
"Blues music is at the root of all popular music - jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, polka - everything," Spice said. " So when you say you're a blues musician, you're simply a modern musician. Eric Clapton said it best: 'Both of Robert Johnson's albums actually cover all of my desires musically. Every angle of expression and every emotion is expressed on both of these albums.'"
When Guy Smiley isn't on the road or in the studio, the members all lead different lives.
"We wash dishes, move furniture, design web pages, work for an international music business sham and sit around," Spice said.
While the band is scheduled to play Thursday, Spice said sometimes there are bumps in the road.
"We like to show up late for the gig, miss sound check, find out that all of our amps are blown up, frantically call music stores and local musicians for strings and reeds, get too drunk to perform and call it a night," said Spice.
- Arin Thompson
Daily Egyptian; Published on 7/19/02; 7:53:00 AM
SMILEY BLUES EXCHANGE : Feb 10, 2002
Funk-flavored groove artists the Guy Smiley Blues Exchange really warmed up Spot Coffee on a frigid night. First of all, the show was free. Secondly, Spot has some great coffee and the one on Delaware has a really nice atmosphere-very artsy. Anyway, GSBE is so damn funky! Throughout the time we were there, an hour or so, we heard nothing but wah guitar, funky-ass basslines, occasional keys, and wicked horns. Graham Spice was my hero, alternating between guitar and keys. He just was one of the funkiest white boys I've ever seen or heard. I couldn't understand how a band that talented and solid would be playing a free show at a place like the Spot. Guess they just really like to play. If you're into real funk, you've got to check out Guy Smiley Blues Exchange, they could warm up any Buffalo winter night. Peace.
- Chris Clark
The Revolving Door, April 2002 - issue 45
of The Week
Though Nashville's Guy Smiley Blues Exchange take influences from across the genre map, its a smooth ride (unlike some bands who try to mesh too many styles together). The band can segue from Fabulous Flames - styled funk, to explosive, creative fusion to laid-back Hip-Hop, and you're never left wondering if its the same band from song to song. That cohesion, plus some talented musicians, is what makes the group's self-titled debut such a treat. though they've been compared to like-minded acts like Groove Collective, Phish and Medeski, Martin & Wood, Guy Smiley's the only name you'll remember after listening or seeing them live (check their web site, www.GSBE.com, for further info on the band). At the BarrelHouse with Sballo on Friday.
- MB City Beat, Cincinnati, OH, April 27 - May 3, 2000
Review of the Live CD from Jambands.com (July 17, 2001)
This funk/jazz/alloftheabove combo from Nashville describe themselves as "psychafunkadoobalicious". The opening track on this live album certainly captures that feel. Title is just about as exciting and energetic as an instrumental band can be. The intro guitar lick alone is worth the price of this CD. Before you know it, Guy Smiley will have you thumping your funkdoobalicious booty. Saxophonist Patrick Dolan, or "Patty D" as his band mates chant during his solo, shreds like no other, and you can tell his time playing with Jeff Coffin of the Flecktones was time well spent. Miles Davis's Nardis gets the Guy Smiley treatment where they justly stay true to the composed sections and leave room for more horn solos in the middle. Horns are clearly what this band is about. Their sound dominates pretty much every song, but these guys definitely have the chops. Rounding out the horn section are Chris West and Ryan Styles who provide the tight arrangements that drive their sound.
Archives is a wild and peculiar ride showcasing odd time signatures and key changes. Again it is the horns up front, but the drums on this track are what really stand out. Drummer Jim Kolacek provides a very drum-n-bass-like groove for the first part of the tune, until it takes a sharp left turn into outer-space where keyboards take center stage.
The highlight of the album is a cover of Average White Band's Pick Up The Pieces. This infamous funk instrumental is perfect for this band. Styles gets a chance to strut his stuff on the baritone and completely funks the room up. The song reaches numerous climaxes and the crowd clearly enjoys what they're hearing. Who wouldn't? The album closes out with Think Big Booms which chugs along at a medium pace and features Graham Spice on vocals. His scat singing during the guitar solo adds a nice touch and showcases just how much range these guys have.
The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange is not really bluesy at all, more like funky and jazzy. Their music features tight arrangements, but also plenty of room for improvisation. The album showcases a nice mixture of songs, but it occasionally slips a few notches. Some of their songs drag on and get repetitive and suffer from overthinking (too many tempo changes!), but that's nothing a little discipline can't fix. But one thing that definitely doesn't need to be fixed is their energy and enthusiasm for their music which is as funkdoobalicious as hell.
- Rob Kallick
Boys Are Back In Town
The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange [GSBE] has been referred to as "A wickedcayenne-spice mix of brassy salsa - cocktail exotica" [The Nashville Scene], "Gen-X Jazz [The Tennessean] and they call themselves "psychafunkadoobalicious." I'm thinking, that's not enough! It's more like "funkagroovadelic" - whatever, I give up - there is no word. No wait, here it is, "indescribable."
The band and their unique sound is like a great dish you've tasted, but can't describe. Let's see...they're a dash of jazz, a dash of funk [make that a large dose], add some more funk and lots of groove, then throw in some alternative rock, and then a little more funkadelic groove, now throw in seven incredibly talented musicians and there you have it! Nope...still not enough.
This band rocks the house! I had the chance to see and hear them several weeks ago. I actually went to see the opening rock band and them intended to leave, but as I watched this young group of musicians set up [GSBE], I became quite intrigued with what was unfolding. Now bear in mind, I had just seen an alternative rock band with a killer rock guitar player, and the next thing I see is a set of vibraphones being set up by a sort of unassuming fellow. Now I see a set of congas and other percussion going up. I'm asking myself, "What's going on here?" Then a set of keyboards, drums, bass guitar...etc, etc.
But now I see three guys step on stage with an alto, tenor, and bari sax, and I'm getting this weird sensation that something crazy is about to happen. I'm totally "geeked-up" with anticipation.
Now the moment of truth...when they finally kick off, the place just starts jammin'. A rhythm and energy comes over the club, and I see no end insight for the rest of the night. It is pure unadulterated funkyjazagroovamatic fun! The "Tower of Power" of the new millennium!
However, in a really weird way, with as much fun and the sort of loose demeanor the band members have, there is a structured, most serious level of musicianship and performance taking place on stage. Look a little closer, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or musician, to see that they are very accomplished and educated musicians. All play multi-instruments and come from a variety of backgrounds and musical styles.
Back to the stage, I see Graham Spice on keyboards and guitar, founding member, who sort of plays off to the side, but is having a blast. I swear the look on his face is like, "I can't believe I'm getting paid for all this fun!" Then there's bassist Frank Reynolds, if I weren't looking at him I would swear "Jaco" has been reincarnated [never mind if you don't know Jaco - he was arguably the greatest]. Drummer Pete Meriwether holds the band together with a serious back-beat and Andrew Sift is on stage left adding a truly unique flavor with the vibes, latin percussion, including an "electric guiro" [don't ask, go see for yourself].
Then you have the horn section. To use an old jazz term, these cats are in a world of their own. I think the action verb they use on stage is "s-t-r-e-t-c-h" - musically that is. Stretch the notes, the instruments, the breathing, the incidentals, the body, the scales and the msucial performance solo as absolutely hard and origianl as you can! It's about expression. Bill Schultz take the baritone sax to its limit and then pushes harder. Patrck Dolan on alto sax and flute seems quite reserved and organized with his demeanor, but lets is rip when it's time to solo. Chris West literally throws his whole body into his solos. He seems to be the one that enjoys the challenge of stretching the most. Somehow he goes off into this musical flight, and the only limits are the boundaries of space itself.
A point that should not go unnoticed is they sound good, too. The sound system seems rather basic - it might have been the club's setup -nevertheless, they have a young lady running sound who is very attentive and does a great job of keeping each member of the seven-piece band heard.
If you want to see a band that is totally engrossed in their music, yet is ever aware of the audience and the need to groove them, The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange is the band to see.
P.S. They were nominated for Best R&B Album of the Year for their debut, self-titled 1999 release by the Nashville Music Awards. Prediction: Soon to be Band of the Year.
You can catch the GSBE live at The 'Boro tonight and at the Rites of Spring event at Vanderbilt Saturday or check out all of their dates at www.gsbe.com
- Sidelines Flash, Middle Tennessee State University
April 12, 2000, Vol. 2, Iss. 23
Down, get funky, get loose!
Mr. Short-term memory can't dredge up many moments from The
Guy Smiley Blues Exchange installment of Clarksville's fall Wednesday
Nite Music Club.
What I can recall is that the thousand or so folks who braved the "frigid" 50-degree weather were a rolling sea of bobbing dolls.
And it wasn't 'cause of a chilly Cumberland River breeze, it was da freaky psychedelic funk thrown down on everything from guitars and congas to vibraphones and flutes.
Formed in 1993, the seven-man band sounds like Phish, Frank Zappa and P-funk all tangled up in infectious jazz and Latin-brushed horn-blown blues that makes you jump and shake and lose yourself in time.
While many bands hide their horn sections in the dark recesses of the stage (like they ain't bathed in a week), GSBE proudly places Patrick Dolan (alto sax, flute), Chris West (tenor sax, flute), and Bill Schultz (baritone sax) front and center for good reason - these boys plat out get with it.
GSBE also features Frank Reynolds (bass guitar, vocals), Graham Spice (guitar, keyboards, flugal horn, vocals), Pete Meriwether (drums), and Andrew Swift (vibraphone, percussion). Nominated for R&B Album of the year at the 1999 Nashville Music Awards, the band injects its own flavor into a myriad of '70s horn band classics.
And GSBE, which racks up 150 performances a year all over the eastern United States, has one mother of a funky set list of originals that pull a Stretch Armstrong of the three-minute rule.
"Tito Puente Ain't Seen No) Snufalufagus" is a choppy, mystic carpet ride with horns that snort and bellow over a psychedelic backdrop of airy organ and wah-wah guitar.
"Mechanically Separated Chicken" is a funky timed, Zappa-bred, psycho instrument collage while "Dreams" is a musical landscape-painted spectacular with a trip-hop lyrical stream from Nashville rapper Count Bass-D, a floating flugal horn and Swift's trance-like, tremolo brushings on vibraphone.
Well-stocked with a weathered guitar case full of eight-minute songs and one mean vibraphone, the groovy GSBE pulling its well-honed, tie-dyed act down to the Deli (for a 19 and over show) could be just the one-night mind and soul trip outta Clarksville you need and can afford.
Dave Lavender, GO! Staff
The Leaf-Chronicle, Friday, January 21, 2000
The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange is about as in-your-face as a band with jazz learnings can get. Blending jazz and funk, the group maintains a phat, rhythmic sound that's enhanced by the presence of three sax players whose tonal approach practically makes the instrument a trumpet substitution. Well, not quite, but you get the idea: The sound is piercing and unapologetic. The Exchange is part of the third annual Turtle Festival, a shell of an event at 328 Performance Hall...
The Tennessean, Tuesday, July 20, 1999
Rock: A Secret Influence of the Jam Scene
...Nashville's Guy Smiley Blues Exchange is another example. The GSBE is a large, horn-driven unit that experiments with all kinds of sounds, but the Prog Rock influence is clearly evident on their debut, self-titled CD (1998: GBSE / Kind.Nashville) on tracks like "Freaky Love Monster" and "Mechanically Separated Chicken." These tracks are instrumentally different (to say the least) but their debt to King Crimson is clear. (Other tracks on this very good CD are derived from Latin Jazz, hard classic rock like Led Zeppelin, and 70's funk. But still the Prog Rock influence is there at times.) The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange, by the way, is very good, and they are traveling in ever-wider circles around the East and Midwest. (They also have one of the better www sites on the jamband scene, at GBSE.com)
- da Flower Punk, Aug. 10, 1999 Jambands.com
liven Fall Break
Stuck in town for Fall Break? Don't fret. Friday night at Rudy's may be the bright spot of an otherwise quiet weekend. A little funk and groove may be just the cure for those no-break blues.
Nashville groovers The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange will rock Rudy's with their "psychafunkadoobilicious" sound. This isn't music to sit still through, and the crowd will be inspired to "move their butts." After all, that is the band's sole purpose. With a mission statement like that, how could the show be dull?
If that's not enough excitement, add Nashville rockers Peace in the Jones and the melodic mix is complete. Peace in the Jones have gained notice in the Southern arena for their high energy performances and ability to jam for hours.
The raw energy of jazz, rock and funk-flavored audio treats and groove-inducing performances both bands promise to deliver should be along the lines of such local favorites as Gran Torino and Caution.
It is apparent from their clever Sesame Street-inspired name that the seven members of The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange possess a creative spirit. With song titles such as "Freaky Love Monster" and "Mechanically Separated Chicken" on their self-titled CD, the listener's attention is piqued. Unfortunately, the names are better than most of the album's songs.
The CD does not do this band justice, down-sizing their sound to uninteresting background music. The band's avant-funk, groove-oriented jazz is better suited to a live performance, which these Guys will be unleashing at Rudy's.
On the other hand, the new release from Peace in the Jones, Just Stop To Listen, is a delight. Any band that can serve as a pleasant distraction during a two-hour traffic jam on I-75 South is a rare jewel. The band's harmonic melodies and catchy beats make this band one to watch.
- Kimberly Urquhart, The Daily Beacon, UT-Knoxville, October 14, 1998
"If you're going to call a song Mechanically Separated Chicken, you better be prepared to deliver a sonic freak show a la Nine Inch Nails, or you better have the chops to overcome the gimmicky title.
The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange opts for the latter. Nope, these guys aren't blues. rather, they've exchanged the blues sensibilities for the jazz and avant-funk side of the musical spectrum, using a lineup that includes vibraphone, saxes of all sizes, guitars, fluegelhorn and something called an "electric guiro."
Along with the techno-groove jazz of Mechanically Separated Chicken, the band's new self-titled CD includes (Tito Puente Ain't Seen No) Snufalufagus, a bit of funky space jazz; Freaky Love Monster, a sort of country tune meets Frank Zappa; and Get Down Tonight, a strut-filled funk cover of that hit by K.C. and the Sunshine Band.
It's hip, Gen-X jazz that's clever without being strained or pretentious."
The Tennessean, Saturday, September 5, 1998, Volume 94, No. 248
- Robert K. Oermann
Music Row Magazine,
August 8, 1998, Volume 18, No. 4
some shake in your groove
Burnt our on the overabundance of cover bands playing in the Evansville bar scene? If you can't handle another night of '80s rewind, there are a couple of bands making their way to River City to answer your prayers.
Nashville-based bands Peace in the Jones and The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange are bringing a new sound to the area to rev up your weekend. Original tunes laved with jazz, blues, funk, bluegrass, and just about any other musical classification are on their playlists...
...The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange serves up [an] eclectic mixture of sounds for the sole purpose of moving butts. The septet focuses on jazz and blues and considers itself "the only band to emerge from Nashville with a groove."
Influences from Phish and Frank Zappa to Miles Davis and John Coltraine combine to make a smooth, danceable sound. Throw in K.C. & the Sunshine Band's Get Down Tonight with Guy Smiley's funk horns, and you'll have a hard time sitting on your barstool.
Both bands offer a new alternative for a funkadelic night on the town. Check them out. If you're not tapping your foot after a couple of songs, check your pulse."
University of Evansville Crescent, August 25, 1998, Volume 80, No. 1
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