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"Kim and Scott Collins, The Smoking Flowers, carry on the torch where Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris left off in their day, delivering beautifully produced, sometimes moody, songs with knockout harmonies... and less traditional than your classic country-folk duo by bringing a punk-attitude and energy to their highly infectious songs."
Though Scott Collins doesn’t say that going to Graceland to see Elvis Presley in his coffin influenced his future as a musician, it’s hard to believe it didn’t have an undeniable effect on his 3-year-old self. For Kim Collins, her future career as a singer/songwriter may have been a bit more predestined. For Kim, who grew up with a mother who was a singer and guitarist in a folk band, The Travelers, in the sixties, it was probably bred in the bone.
The Smoking Flowers fire up an East Nashville-based brand of rock, blues and country with a sweet flavor of Southern Gothic folk, all with a punk attitude. Their sophomore album '2 Guns' will no doubt appeal to a large spectrum of fans when it hits the world this summer. The album was co-produced and engineered by Adam Landry, noted producer of Deer Tick, Middle Brother, and Diamond Rugs and former touring guitarist for Ray LaMontagne. Adam also added his own sublime guitar to it, giving it that dusky, diverse feeling of his other Americana projects. "Something I Said," a single off the album, was recently featured on the hit ABC show "Revenge." Everything on '2 Guns' was written and arranged together by Kim and Scott at their East Nashville home. The album was tracked on 8-track 1-inch tape, continuing the Collins' 12 years and counting commitment to analog recording. Several tracks on the record were the first take recorded live. The realistic, street level poetic lyrics were thoughtfully written out over time and experience -- but its thirteen songs were raucously brought into existence in single recorded takes over about four days, as if their lives depended on it.
'2 Guns' is a ferocious musical document that eerily proved to be a foreshadowing of the battle the couple was soon to encounter. Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer just after they recorded and mixed '2 Guns'. The album was supposed to be released in the spring of 2012, but was put on hold while the couple faced this most dreaded disease together.
Kim's breast cancer is in remission today, just over a year after her diagnosis, due to only using holistic methods, as she decided against chemotherapy, radiation and hormones. The very day she found out of her diagnosis, Kim committed to a diet of 100% raw food and radically alternative treatments. A testament to the power and energy of life and the potential of the future, undeniable urgency flows and howls throughout the album, and the couple tapped deeply into their punk and raw country & western roots in its composition.
Kim (vocals, mandolin, guitar, drums, accordion) cites influences that range from Led Zeppelin to Gillian Welch and The Ramones to Linda Rondstat. Ironically, just a few years ago, Kim was considered by one of those very influences when she was up for the female vocalist spot in Robert Plant's "Band of Joy". Unbeknownst to Kim, Mr. Plant had been listening to some of her recordings and loved her voice. But as fate would have it, her friend Patti Griffin got the role. "The job was clearly destined for Patti...I mean look at her and Robert now! I do believe in a good love story, after all," says a sighing Kim. As for Scott and his influences, the answer ultimately comes down to just one name: Neil Young.
When you listen to The Smoking Flowers, leave any preconceived notions behind, because if you think you’re listening to country, they’ll switch to rock. Or they’ll lull you in with a gentle waltz tempo, then come in with vocals that are reminiscent of punk. And the exquisite harmonies will certainly grab you. For this husband-and-wife duo, living together, working together, writing together and playing together unite to form a sound that’s distinctly theirs.