VIDEO PREMIERE: The Smith & Western Jury - 'Have Mercy'

28 February 2024 | 11:00 am | Mary Varvaris

"This is our version of country music."

The Smith & Western Jury

The Smith & Western Jury (Credit: Dan Shaq)

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Melbourne alt-country band The Smith & Western Jury are back, dropping a new music video – which Countrytown is proudly premiering today – and recently announced the release of their debut album, Hotel Texas.

The group have unveiled the music video for Have Mercy, a rollicking, driving tune that showcases their joyful melodies and Sam Lombardi’s effortlessly cool vocals. Then, there’s a ripping guitar solo from Simon Torcasio, with bassist Danny Bonnici and drummer Matt Marasco holding the fort.

In a statement, Lombardi explained that the inspiration behind Have Mercy stemmed from a particularly bleak time in her life.

The singer was diagnosed with vestibular migraines in 2020 – a type of migraine that also induces dizziness and vertigo, and discovered that she’d had a stroke at some point and didn’t know when it happened. In addition to the scary health issues, Lombardi lost a close friend – all during the same period.

Lombardi said, “I wrote Have Mercy in October 2020. We were in our second lockdown for the year, and we were about 90 days in. That feeling of being stuck inside, going slightly crazy, fuelled by anxiety, and the monotonous repetition of each day is what inspired this song.

“In the middle of the night is always when my anxiety feels the worst, so when I sing ‘the devil knows where I sleep’, the devil I am referring to is my own mind. I like writing in metaphors and thought it would be fun to do a bit of a Western take on the whole concept.”

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You can watch the music video for Have Mercy below.

The Smith & Western Jury comprises former members of Melbourne punk band Pagan (Bonnici and Marasco), but it turns out that the four-piece are pretty good at making country music. And they’ll prove that further later this year when they release their debut album, Hotel Texas. The LP drops on Friday, 14 June.

“Even though we'd grown up listening to heavier music, we'd fallen in love with country,” Lombardi said in a press release. “We went to Nashville and were super inspired by all the bands we heard in bars over there. We'd been writing together for ages, but that trip made us want to do something about it.

“When I wrote that line about being from out of town, it’s me saying that even though I didn't grow up on country music and wasn't originally a country singer, I still want to give this my best shot. This is our version of country music.”

Torcasio added, “Every line on this album can be traced to a time, place or event. Sam has lived this album, and I've been there with her through all of it. I felt a real duty of care as a guitar player on this album – I wanted to give her words a chance to breathe and give the album a bit of space as well as that extra twang.”

You can pre-order the album here and catch The Smith & Western Jury at their Have Mercy launch next month.



Saturday, 9 March - The Union Hotel, Brunswick, Melbourne/Naarm

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