T.S.M - indie/alt-country/progressive-rock
"When it comes to the Smile Makers, everything is unexpected. The music is intricate, delicate and sometimes a little dark. A song such as 'Only Satellites' moves slowly, allowing you to sink into its spare vocals and desolate acoustic guitar. It's gorgeous. Other songs, such as 'Broken in Two,' have a sort of old-school, lyric-driven country edge. It's a fine whiskey of a song, and like good whiskey, can leave you a little messed up and weepy. Each song creates its own vibe, and the duo plays with dynamics and vocal harmonies that are just captivating. This is some serious, serious music, and that's something to smile about."
- Victor D. Infante (Worcester Telegram & Gazette 2012)
The Smile Makers is a duo from Worcester, Massachusetts; comprised of:
Eric Donaldson (guitar, ukulele, resonator, harmonica and vocals)
Nicole Sutka (electric bass, woodwinds and vocals)
Eric Donaldson is an artist and songwriter, he holds a BFA in sculpture from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and runs the Tree House Sculpture studio. He begged his parents to enroll him in lessons, and began playing classical cello at the age of six. Eric is an artist who uses his guitar like a pen or paintbrush, he writes lyrics that are honest and wraught with emotion, pulling musical and litterary references as he blends prog-rock, folk, punk, ska and grunge. Eric is the backbone of the group laying down a foundation of steady rhythm guitar and powerful vocals that are commanding and genuine. The catalog of music he has produced in his short time writing is deep and impressive. His melodies are crafted with elegant, sometimes raw lyrics, they are truthful expressions of sickness, love, friendship and mortality.
Nicole Sutka is a musician and songwriter with BA from the UMass Amherst, and MEd from Simmons college. Nicole is an electric bass playing phenonmenon who pushes her abilities and skills in a musical world that expects less of women than it should. This talented and driven artist's earliest memories are of music, she began playing woodwind instruments at the age of five. She currently performs on flute and other woodwind instruments in several musical groups, but it was during high school when her band instructor handed her an electric bass to play in Jazz band that Nicole found her voice. Excelling quickly and in high demand she was playing shows with bands of experienced players before she turned eighteen. Nicole quickly elevated her playing to a professional level and focused on electric bass while studying music at UMass Amherst. In her first proffesional debutes Nicole performed as the bassist and sometimes vocalist in the groups; Stone Lily, Fat Man Tow, For Chameleon, Soul Purpose (with Eric Krasno of Soulive), East Coast Edge Machine (with Rob Mitzner and Nate Cronin), Hilary Noble, Ken LaRoche, Audrey Ryan, D-licks, George Lesiw. She has recorded with Paddy Saul, James Kamal Jones and McMike D and Stone Lily. Nicole studied jazz and improvisation with Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef, her style of playing reflects the influences of both of these great mentors. Nicole writes music with; a voice of social consciousness, an ear for improvisation and a hallmark of emotional fervor. Her songs blend Hip-Hop, Jazz, prog-rock and indie-rock genres with vocal harmony, wood-wind interludes and pulsing bass lines.