5 Archive #06 – Musician & artist, Sam Smith

5 Archive #06 – Musician & artist, Sam Smith

Music Valley Archive makes clothing & collectibles to help you rep Nashville's old school soul. Here on 5 Archive, Music City-based artists, creators and small business owners share their 5 current obsessions. 


Sam Smith is a native Nashvillian who has built a creative life around music, design, and cinephilia. Drumming for over 12 years with Ben Folds, he’s also performed with Joe Pisapia, Tristen, Zac Clark, Kacey Musgraves, '90s tribute My So-Called Band, and critically-acclaimed, old Nashville teen sensations Lifeboy. When not drumming, he has designed film poster art for clients including The Criterion Collection (most famously, the one-sheet for Nobuhiko Obayashi's HOUSE), album covers for artists including William Tyler, Dawes, and Hiss Golden Messenger, editorial illustrations for the New York Times, plus illustrated work for the Belcourt Theatre and the Nashville Symphony. His larger obsessions include ambient music, his two Scottish Folds, Mario Kart, children’s lit, yard games, and Japan. 

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Rilakkuma and Kaoru
Practical magic. For all you fantasy fans, Netflix’s Dark Crystal series will fill the GOT-sized hole in your life, rich with emotion, story, and incredible characters. And if you’re as burned out by CGI as I am, it’s also a triumph for the Jim Henson legacy, bringing charming puppets and physical sets to life. This show getting cancelled after one season is a total disgrace; catch up with it and spread the word. Follow it with the beautiful stop-motion-animation of Rilakkuma and Kaoru (also Netflix, two seasons). Set it to Japanese with English subs and let the comforting and kawaii vibes wash over you. Each bite-sized episode ends with a shot so profound in its simplicity, you’ll have to hit the replay button.

The BE Hive Deli & Market

This Nashville vegan joint is already an institution, providing its animal-free meats to various top restaurants and grocers, but as a lunch and later-night Gallatin Ave eatery (open 'til 10 p.m.) it’s a unique gem in the local food scene. I’m always surprised by how many Eastsider friends of mine have never been! Pop in for Crunchwraps (three styles), chicken sandwiches (hot or classic), waffle fries and milkshakes with a friend or your kid. For our food scene to compete with the best in the country, we need BE Hive and their peers to continue dominating the food and bar scene, providing meat-free options to progressive locals.

Alan Watts - “You’re It!” audio collection on Audible

Whatever personal struggles, traumas, and losses you’re letting your Ego chew to pieces as you walk through your daily life, be it even simply the existential dread permeating today’s world, this series of talks on Buddhist ideas from the legendary “philosophical entertainer” will put a smile on your soul and show you there is often no problem to solve. Finding this stuff from Watts both saved and changed my life. Put it on loop in a room of your house and see what happens.

The Nashville House

I love Brutalism (the chunky slab-like modern concrete buildings found in England, universities, and parking garages that some would dare call cold and ugly). And among the Brutalist-adjacent Nashville examples is this humble office park that, when viewed peeking through trees just north of the 65 loop, looks like something out of Blade Runner. Compete with greenhouse atrium, water features and ferns, this is a comforting marvel of modern architecture, the kind which must be valued and appreciated as time races on, rendering these previously non-descript sites to be the masterpieces that they are. Please, if this complex is ever to be sold and torn down, let us step in and turn it into a creative mecca, yes?

Stevie Nicks “Wild Heart” backstage demo footage
Local ambient wizard Luke Schneider turned me onto this clip, a sacred gift passed around musicians for the last 20 years, at the time describing it as “the greatest piece of video footage in the history of mankind” and I stand by that. A young Stevie candidly singing backstage to her ladies as she sings an early version of a song in the making. It’s not only that her song is so catchy and perfect and beautiful, it’s that this feeling moment between people, of a song never finished and formed, was captured in such a fateful yet happenstance way. I resist saying something is “everything,” but these four minutes of magic really may be.


We invite every guest to add 5 songs to the WMVA 61.5AM Sunday Mornings Playlist, a collection of music for, well, mellow Sunday mornings. Here are Sam's picks:

  • Zac Clark, "What Better Time"
  • Theo Katzman, "Be the Wheel"
  • Knower, "Crash The Car"
  • Jillette Johnson, "Bon Adventure"
  • Courtney Jaye, "The Kingdom is Inside of Me"



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