Shane Smith & the Saints

Key to the Highway: Shane Smith


Shane Smith & the Saints photo by Andrew Quinn

Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series

Fans always clamor to learn more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road for music. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Shane Smith.

Americana Highways: How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?

Shane Smith: I’ll usually wake up and mix a cup of Athletic Greens, along with a few other supplements to start the day. I think it helps my energy levels way more than going straight into coffee. When I do drink coffee, I typically like cold brew, coffee black.

AH: What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road for music?)

SS: We stayed at an old hotel near downtown New Orleans that ended up being a famous, haunted location, unbeknownst to us. Our tour manager at the time was actually locked out of the hotel for the entire night due to “something” shutting and locking the door behind him, when he went outside to grab something from the van. That’s for a longer conversation though!

AH: If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?

SS: I’d say it would probably have to be Third Eye Blind’s debut/title album. I listened to this nonstop with my brother in high school and it’s really nostalgic for me. And there literally isn’t a bad song on that entire album.

AH: What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?

SS: My 10 pound dog, Gretchen… for sure. She’s the best traveler and has been to at least 22 states with us so far.

AH: What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?

SS: It can be pretty difficult to find healthy options on the road, but we’ve been lucky that the venues we’re getting to play lately have been giving us some healthier options. We all try to eat as healthy as we can, given the situation, and stay in a pretty consistent workout routine. We are a pretty active group, and individually like to either go to the gym, bike, skateboard or run whenever we can. We are also super lucky to have some fans turned family in a lot of these states who have us over and feed us home cooked meals when we’re in town.

AH: If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?

SS: Probably far West Texas. There’s just something about that area. Time itself seems to slow down in such a drastic way and I feel like it would be an incredible mental, and even spiritual, reset from touring.

AH: What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?

SS: Ray Wylie Hubbard took me under his wing for a few weeks in my early twenties and helped me completely re-learn how to finger pick on a guitar. It truly changed the way I play and to an extent, the way I write songs as well. It will be with me forever, and I’m so grateful that he took the time to teach me that. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s an absolute legend.

Find more information and tour dates for Shane Smith & the Saints here:

See other Key to the Highway interviews here: (click here for: Vince Herman Jimmy Smith  Ben Nichols Bruce Cockburn Charlie Musselwhite Nicki Bluhm Jim White Danny Barnes  Patterson Hood Jerry Joseph BJ Barham Rodney Crowell Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt  Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Sadler Vaden )

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