DIY Spotlight: Gerard Smith

Gerard Smith is a familiar face within the Detroit music scene, thanks to his prog-Celtic band, Bill Grogan’s Goat. He’s also released a bunch of solo albums, and is about to drop a new one. He’s come a long way since taking piano lessons at six and learning guitar at 16.

Bill Grogan’s Goat formed in 2005 when Smith wanted to broaden Celtic music after only hearing a punk take, or acoustic groups with drum and bass.

“After the first album, we started including more progressive rock elements in our arrangements, and we seem to be firmly ensconced in the folk-prog niche now,” he says. “It’s hard to describe the sound, as there are so many influences mashed together, sometimes in the same song. As a couple of instances, our ‘Danny Boy’ is probably closest to doom metal, but our ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ is overdriven gypsy jazz. ‘The Devil’s Trumpet’ is best described as disco bagpipes.”

When we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, Smith takes acoustic Celtic music around Detroit and the Midwest. “I usually throw in a non-Celtic cover once per set,” he says.

“I used to travel down to Florida, playing along the route. I also have two solo albums out: Hamtramck: Heaven, and Idylls of the King of the Road. Both albums contain Celtic and original music.”

Decades into his career, Smith knows he’s not going to be handed anything, and continues making things happen for himself.

“Write down your ideas, or record them, and get those ideas out in front of people,” he says. “One of the greatest things about art is the share-ability factor. Even if it’s not the greatest stuff in the world, someone will find pleasure in your work.”

Smith is currently putting the finishing touches to his third solo album, Lullabies In An Ancient Tongue, packed with special guests on his all-original tracks.

Visit gerardsmith.net for the info.