Bang Magazine: "Ali Smith and Steve Almaas are like a musical Edie Sedwick and James Dean."
Ali Smith's musical background is steeped in punk, rockabilly and most notably, the blues stomp of Speedball Baby. Steve Almaas was in on the ground floor of punk rock, as a founding member of the Suicide Commandos, as well as a precursor to alt-country with his band Beat Rodeo. Their shared love of American song manifests itself on their self-titled debut album, with country, folk, R&B and rock-n-roll stylings all working their way into the mix.
The twelve songs included were picked to suit their voices and to make a cohesive whole. Ali sings a few, Steve sings a few and the rest they do together. Steve wrote or co-wrote seven of the twelve songs, the other five are songs they always wanted to do. The album begins with their version of the Fleetwoods' "Come Softly To Me". Except for Ali's vocal overdub, the song was done in one take and the feel on that number sets the tone for the rest of the set. They also rework Jack Logan's "Shrunken Head", Peter Holsapple's "Moving In Your Sleep" and Adam Roth's "Little Jean". Ali revisits "Mistake", a song from Steve's Beat Rodeo days and two of the many songs Steve has written with George Usher are finally given an airing.
Steve Almaas & Ali Smith was recorded by Justin Asher at Sperry Sound in New York City and mixed by Mitch Easter at Fidelitorium Recordings in Kernersville, North Carolina. Besides Ali and Steve sharing the vocal duties and Steve playing acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano and organ, the core band included long-time Steve cohort and Holly and the Italians alumni, Mark Sidgwick on bass, Speedball Baby's Andy Action on drums and multi-instrumentalist Jon Graboff on pedal steel, mandolin and guitar. Mitch Easter and Matt Verta-Ray both make guest appearances on guitar.