Smith and Ryder is an acoustic Americana / Country / Roots duo from central Massachusetts. They are a collaboration of two singer / songwriters that enjoy the shared experience of making music. Their sound is infused with acoustic and tenor guitars, violin, mandolin, with a strong focus on harmony singing. Their songwriting focuses on personal experiences; the struggles, challenges, and victories of everyday people dealing with the extraordinary circumstances that comprise a "normal" life.

Miriam Smith is a lifelong, classically trained violinist who also dabbles in mandolin and guitar. From a very musical family, she grew up singing close harmony with her two sisters. Miriam also enjoys songwriting and performing with several small acoustic and classical ensembles. In her spare time, Miriam enjoys training and competing in the sport of Olympic weightlifting.

Sean got his start in music playing guitar in garage bands while in high school. In college, he focused on his vocal craft performing with the University of New Hampshire Concert Choir under the direction of Cleveland L. Howard. He then performed for a year with the New Haven Chorale before giving up music in order to focus on a career in research. After a long hiatus, Sean returned to music in 2013 after discovering a latent passion for songwriting. Since then, he has been a regular on the local scene.

Praise for "Small Town Blue"

Excerpted from a review by Victor D. Infante of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.

As winter finally starts to show its teeth and a bitter cold sets in, perhaps it’s fitting that the last great local song of 2015 is a small, lovely and achingly sad acoustic number by the Worcester-area duo Smith & Ryder. “Small Town Blue” is a desolate little tale of a high school athlete with his life ahead of him who messes it all up by stealing alcohol from a liquor store and crashing a car, killing his best friend.

With gentle compassion and stark imagery, Ryder and his collaborator, violinist Miriam Smith, paint a vivid picture of the man’s unraveling, and how a youthful mistake utterly destroys his dreams. But it’s more than mere guilt at play: Smith & Ryder’s portrait captures the indelible gravity of a small town, the claustrophobia of having everything and everyone around you remind you of your failings. “Hell is other people,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre in the 1944 play, “No Exit,” and nothing illustrates that better than Ryder’s portrait of the subject’s one-time high school sweetheart now transformed to a stone-faced diner waitress who “serves his fried eggs up with a face made of stone.”

Throughout the song, the guitar and violin work is subtle and unforced. Everything flows like a gentle brook to its sad, inevitable conclusion. It’s the light hand that gives the song its power, the gentle wistfulness in Ryder’s vocals, the understated accent of Smith’s harmonies. The violin plays softly, the guitar strums softly, and the result is a song in which every inch is pregnant with heartbreak.

Praise for "In Pieces"

Excerpted from areview by Victor D. Infante of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.

There’s really only one problem with “In Pieces,” the new EP from Worcester Americana duo Smith & Ryder: It’s too short. At a slim five songs running 20 minutes, it’s over and done before you’ve had a chance to immerse yourself. And that’s a shame, because this isn’t short-attention-span music. Considering there are only two musicians on the album, it’s remarkably layered and peppered with bits worthy of attention. Smith & Ryder will hold a release party for the album at 9 p.m. July 30 at Beatnik’s in Worcester. The album begins with the clever “It’s About Time,” sung and written by Miriam Smith, who also plays violin on the song. “Time borrowed,” sings Smith, singing above Sean Ryder’s acoustic guitar, “time wasted, time ain’t never really on our side.” It’s about how time slips away from us so easily, and as such, it sets up one of the album’s themes: Squandered opportunities. The theme picks up again on the second song, the Ryder-penned “Another Day Wasted.” Ryder also takes over the lead vocals here, demonstrating his warm tenor. It’s a beautiful song in a classic country style, but it’s also one that demands attention. It’s a seemingly simple song, but it’s rattled with nooks and crannies to explore ... small bits of guitar work and violin passages that you might otherwise miss.

To request a booking, please contact us by email.


"In Pieces"

Available now! "In Pieces" is the debut EP by Smith & Ryder. The album received high praise from Victor Infante of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, who wrote "There’s really only one problem with “In Pieces,” the new EP from Worcester Americana duo Smith & Ryder: It’s too short." Victor goes on to describe the album as "remarkably layered and peppered with bits worthy of attention". You can read the full review here. The album can be downloaded from our Bandcamp page, or from CD Baby.

If you prefer a hard copy, you can get the CD shipped direct to your door for $5 plus shipping HERE or by Paypal HERE

"Small Town Blue"

As heard the nationally syndicated radio program Ice in the A.M., and on WCUW 91.3FM Worcester, our single “Small Town Blue" was described as ”lovely”, “achingly sad”, and “pregnant with heartbreak” by Victor Infante from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. You can read the full review of "Small Town Blue" here. This song is available for download in a variety of formats on our Bandcamp page. A limited number of hard copies are available for purchase at live shows.

Upcoming Shows:

FRI November 17, 2017

Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards with special guests Smith & Ryder
The Amazing Thing Arts Center in Framingham, MA 8 PM

We will be joining our dear friends Mark and Raianne for a night of story songs, intimate harmonies, and beautiful, beautiful music. You don't want to miss this! It's the show of the year for us. Tickets are available through the Amazing Things Arts Center website.

Please check out Mark and Raianne's website!

Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards are clearly inheritors of a timeless legacy, creating music that is both original and evocative of a rich tradition. Blending distinctive voices and a wide range of accompaniment (guitar, harmonica, ukulele, clarinet, penny whistle, electric bass), their songs have been well-received by audiences around the eastern United States since 2010. Transcending the genre of folk Americana, their music echoes inspiration from traditional folk duos and singer/songwriters like Ian & Sylvia, Kate Wolf and Neil Young – combining beautiful harmonies and a lyrical intensity, while establishing a unique sound of their own.

Their new CD, Grain by Grain, demonstrates an ever progressive richness in songwriting and performance. From the opening title song through its closing track—“Across the Morning”—it is an exemplar of what modern Americana can and should be. I maintain that Mark and Raianne’s previous CD—Hard Times & Woes—is one of those rare singularly perfect albums, but with Grain by Grain this talented duo takes it all to a new level, rivaling their earlier effort with terrific original songs beautifully presented.


© 2017, all rights reserved. Last updated November, 2017