Big Smoke was formed in 2009 by lead singer and songwriter, Adrian Slattery. The band became a beloved staple of the Melbourne music scene, building a reputation as a group of phenomenal players with an exceptional command of classic rock ‘n’ roll song-writing.
In early 2015, Adrian was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer. Despite significant health obstacles and the knowledge his cancer was incurable, Adrian was determined and the band was unstoppable, continuing to tour and eventually tracking their debut album between a four-month regimen of chemotherapy and brain surgery in November 2015.
Adrian died in May this year, less than a year after his diagnosis. Throughout his illness, he was committed to leaving behind a legacy – for his family, his friends and the world. That legacy is Time Is Golden, the debut album from Big Smoke and the record Adrian always wanted to make.
Today, Big Smoke shares the first single from that album – ‘Best Of You’.
‘Best Of You’ exemplifies everything that was great about Big Smoke, Adrian’s extraordinary voice soaring above the astounding musicianship of the band. It’s the type of rock ‘n’ roll music that sounds instantly classic, like you’ve known these songs all your life. Think a 21st century Big Star meets The Band at their romantic, cinematic and untouchable best.
Luke Brennan, Big Smoke’s drummer says, “We really believe ‘Best Of You’ sets the tone for the record. There is a tenderness and intensity in the music and the lyrics that epitomizes Adrian’s songwriting and the band’s performances.”
Before he died, Adrian and the band had earmarked engineer Shawn Everett to mix the record. They wanted a modern yet timeless sound and believed Shawn – who recently won a Grammy for his work on Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color – was the best person for the job. Shawn flew to Melbourne last month and mixed the bulk of the album in Northcote. The remainder was done in LA the following week – including an additional guitar arrangement by Blake Mills.
The album features 10 songs written by Adrian over the period of a decade, with additional arrangements by band members Alex O’Gorman (bass), Luke Brennan (drums), Tim Baker (guitar), and Joe Cope(keyboards).
In recent months the Los Angeles based website Yours Truly have compiled a long-form piece featuring interviews with band members and Shawn Everett and accompanied by never-before-seen images of the band performing, recording and mixing the record.
Time Is Golden is a testament to the band’s determination and vision that lives out Adrian’s wish to create an enduring, major work. Time Is Golden is out October 28, and is available for pre-order now.