Daily Discovery: Smokey Brights’ “Unity”

What do we do now?

Videos by American Songwriter

Raise your hand if you’ve thought this in the past, well, six seconds? Thank you for your honesty.

It’s a rough world out there; at least, that’s what we’re all meant to believe. Bitter conversations, deadly disease. What do we do now? For the Seattle-based band Smokey Brights the answer to that question was to write a song, together, in the hopes for a better tomorrow.

That song is their newest release, “Unity.”

All it takes is a spark love / We could burn the whole place down / We can build something better / We can grow it from the ground.

To create a new path ahead takes action. It takes a first step, a hand extended. This is the foundation for Smokey Brights newest single, “Unity.” The song, which features the band’s signature thoughtfulness mixed with its penchant for ‘70s rock vibes, asks, can we come together anymore?

“It’s a rally cry against division; an anthem against apathy,” singer and keys player Kim West tells American Songwriter. “We have all seen how much easier it is to divide than unite these days. People are scared, people are angry, people are tired. And why wouldn’t they be? It’s a nightmare out there. But there is still so much love and light left in this world. And it is worth fighting for.”

Living in Seattle, the members of Smokey Brights have seen first-hand much of what’s been rocking the world lately. COVID-19, social unrest and political divisions.

“Living in the Pacific NW,” West says, “we have seen smokier and smokier summers. It is easy to look up in the blood red sky in the middle of an August day and just think, whelp that’s it. We’re too far gone for fixing. And it’s true – no single person is going to save us. But if we can find the common ground to work together, we can fix more than we even know.”

The band’s new single, which began with a lark of a piano line and evolved over late-night porch conversations between West and her husband and co-lead singer Ryan Devlin, is one in a line of strong releases from Smokey Brights. Others includes their subversive “Different Windows,” and heartfelt “I Love You But Damn.”

“Ryan and I cowrite most everything for Smokeys,” says West, “which admittedly does not work for everyone but works really well for us. We started doing so on the first Smokey Brights record, Taste for Blood, back in 2014. We were living in a 700-square-foot house perched on the side of [highway] I-5, so it was pretty impossible to do anything alone. Simply overhearing what each other were working started us down the path of collaboration. We are still cruising on seven years later.”

(Main photo by Kelly Liu)

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