Songwriter, singer and guitar player Sandy Craig has played in bands on the Denver scene for over 10 years. His band ‘The Smackers’ consists of himself, his sister Nina Knef on vocals, and a rotating cast of fine local players, always ready to breath life into Sandy’s well crafted songs.
Here is a review by Stewart Mason of Amplifier Magazine, of his debut CD; ‘Tear It Up’:
With twangy guitars, twangier vocals, choogling rhythms, and song titles like “Chainsaws and Beer” and “Vampire Girls,” the Smackers’ debut album brings up memories of everyone from psychobilly vets like the Cramps and Reverend Horton Heat to more earnest roots rockers like Walter Clevenger and the Morells. There’s also a big dose of NRBQ’s lyrical playfulness in comic tunes like “Sally,” a love song about a bank robber, and “Love Doll,” which is basically Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” written from the doll’s point of view. Singer/songwriter Sandy Craig has an appealingly careworn voice reminiscent of Ray Mason or Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and a nice way with pre-Beatles pop and country riffs. The addition of female singer Nina Knef (Craig’s sister) on “Love Doll” and “Red Sun Sinking” is a nice touch as well. The album’s production is so colorless as to be almost invisible, which to be fair doesn’t detract from Craig’s uniformly fine songwriting, but it also means Tear It Up lacks a certain vitality. The frisson of a more “live,” rougher-edged sound would up the excitement level of these occasionally sleepy tunes. Overall, however, Tear It Up is a promising debut. ~ Stewart Mason