There are not enough words to describe the intrinsic chemistry Kim and Scott Collins possess. The duo, better known as The Smoking Flowers, have discovered what some duos spend their entire careers trying to find: a fascinating marriage between artistic talent and subtle sensuality that pierces the attention of anyone in the same room as them. The Collins’ have devoted their entire lives to music, and the second their wild feet touch the stage they exude just how tenured they truly are. Seeing The Smoking Flowers play a show is like hearing a certain gospel for the first time; there is a sense of mystery that veils the cornerstone of truth in their songs and ultimately envelopes the soul. Both Kim and Scott embody the “counter-culture” sound of Nashville’s 90’s rock scene while presenting that embodiment in a stripped down version of what Nashville used to love. ~ Jordan Roberts
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Plato wrote “Rhythm and harmony find their way in the inward places of the soul.” The music of the soul should be steeped in a fiery, firmly held love, and the classic mingling of singing souls like Johnny and June Carter, Ike and Tina, and X’s John and Exene; they have become the voice of love for generations of music fans. Now there’s Nashville, Tennessee's The Smoking Flowers, a band led by Kim and Scott Collins, married 17 years, vocalists and multi-instrumentalists who are just as red-hot soulful and sweet as those legendary duos; a duo that simply has a musical and relational love as strong as aged rare bourbon.
The Smoking Flowers fire up an East Nashville-based brand of rock, blues and country with a sweet flair of Southern Gothic folk, all with an underbelly punk attitude. "Something I Said," a single off their last album '2 Guns', was recently featured on the hit ABC show Revenge. '2 Guns' was recorded on 8-track 1-inch tape and co-produced/engineered by Adam Landry (noted producer of Deer Tick, Middle Brother, and Diamond Rugs and former touring guitarist for Ray LaMontagne), continuing the Collins' 15 years and counting commitment to analog recording. The realistic, street level poetic lyrics on '2 Guns' were thoughtfully written out over time and experience -- but its thirteen songs were raucously brought into existence in single recorded takes over about four days. Long lasting staples in the East Nashville underground scene (Kim and Scott have lived there since 1999), '2 Guns' is a ferocious musical document that eerily proved to be a foreshadowing of the battle the couple was soon to encounter.
Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer just after they recorded and mixed '2 Guns'. Kim's breast cancer is in remission today due to only using holistic methods, as she decided against chemotherapy, radiation and hormones. The very day she found out of her diagnosis, Kim committed to a diet of 100% raw food and radically alternative treatments. A testament to the power and energy of life and the potential of the future, undeniable urgency flows and howls throughout '2 Guns' and the TWO NEW FOLLOW UP ALBUMS The Flowers have in the can (both recorded post-diagnosis). One is slated for release later in 2016 and the other to follow in early 2017. You can’t fake the kind of urgency that flows and howls throughout these albums as the couple tapped deeply into their raw punk and folk roots in their composition. As you can imagaine, The Flowers are eager to share them with the world soon.
Kim cites influences that range from Led Zeppelin to Gillian Welch and The Ramones to Linda Rondstat. Ironically, just a few years ago, Kim was considered by one of those very influences when she was up for the female vocalist spot in Robert Plant’s “Band of Joy”. Unbeknownst to Kim, Mr. Plant had been listening to some of her recordings and loved her voice. But as fate would have it her friend Patti Griffin got the role. “The job was clearly destined for Patti...I mean look at her and Robert now! I do believe in a good love story, after all” says a sighing Kim. As for Scott and his influences, the answer ultimately comes down to just two words: Neil Young.
Scott was born in Missouri and raised near Highway 61, growing up aware of the importance and significance of that American music landmark, even attending Elvis’s funeral when he was only three years old. He became passionate about Neil Young in his young 20’s, and followed his dream to New York City before being lured by his brother to visit Nashville for the summer to start a band.
Kim and Scott met that summer in 1998 when Kim was working at the heralded, taste-making scene venue 12th & Porter (Nashville's CBGB's of that era). Scott came by to see about a summer job. Kim was the only one in the restaurant at the time, and apparently sparks flew. Kim told Scott he didn’t need to fill out an application and he was hired on the spot. After only one date, Scott went back to the Big Apple and gathered up his things, telling his friends he thought he’d found the “one”, and moved to Nashville. Six months later, Kim and Scott were engaged.
Collectively among past and current projects, they have opened for beloved song-smiths including the Indigo Girls and Ben Folds Five, underground post punk artists Concrete Blonde, soulful rock bands including The Black Keys and The Black Crows, straight-ahead rock bands including The Strokes and reggae legend Ziggy Marley. Recently, Ian Saint Pe of Black Lips lured Kim and Scott into the studio to lend their harmonies, and Kim's signature drums and accordion to his forthcoming solo release.
Tales of the road have it that when Kim and Scott are touring as a duo, they pull-up in their van stuffed full of gear, and crowds are amazed by all the instruments they pull out of the vehicle for the show. Kim dances between drums, accordion, acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica, lots of banging shimmering tambourine and her own sensual, simmering vocals. Scott plays electric and acoustic guitar, harmonica, and delivers his vocals with the voice of a feisty, gin-battered, heart-on-sleeve, hardscrabble troubadour.
The Smoking Flowers live shows exemplify the gritty wanderlust of Kim and Scott. "We love to get in the car and just drive with no plan... one time we rented a convertible and headed out on Route 66 into Arizona on a spontaneous trip. The cover of the '2 Guns' album was a photo I took from the hood of our convertible, when we found the original dirt road of 66. It was deserted and surreal." Kim says. "When we saw the ghost town of '2 Guns' I had to stop to take photos and we ended up having quite a Quentin Tarantino-type experience! That's what inspired the album." Several of the songs on 2 Guns tell tale of this Western adventure. But all of their songs paint a picture of the other big adventure in their life... the adventure of a couple that lives together, writes together, plays together and simply loves life together.
PressPRESS AND PRAISE
THE EAST NASHVILLIAN FEATURE
"Often beautifully ragged; sometimes beautifully haunting; many times beautifully goofy-grinned and/or playful, pleading, or pledging - but always beautiful. A punkish/alt-country/whatever-you-need-it-to-be masterpiece." ~ Relix
"An edgy Civil Wars... or The White Stripes if Meg sang like a country angel and they lived on a dirt road." ~ Kyle O'Brien (Pitchfork)
"Kurt Cobain's ratty sweater traded for a CBGB t-shirt and bolo tie." ~ Relix Jambands
"provocative and risky" ~ POP MATTERS
"as smooth as bourbon" ~ No Depression
"Highly recommended for both rock and country fans, and especially to listeners that enjoy peeling the sheets off last night's scratch marks." ~ The Deli Magazine
"For the uninitiated, the Flowers make heartfelt and frequently deeply personal Americana music. 2 Guns is on our short list for Best Local Album of the Year." ~ Nashville Scene
"Raw, unpolished, and exciting... a DNA mash up of Presley, Jason and The Scorchers, and Robert Plant, whom, ironically, originally considered Kim for the part now filled by Patti Griffin." ~ Net Rhythms UK
"Kim and Scott Collins, The Smoking Flowers, carry on the torch where Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris left off in their day, delivering beautifully produced, sometimes moody, songs with knockout harmonies... and less traditional than your classic country-folk duo by bringing a punk-attitude and energy to their highly infectious songs. A marriage of song and voice that is uniquely their own." ~ AltCountry.NL Magazine
“Just as red-hot soulful and sweet as those legendary duos ” ~ Stereo Subverison
“The East Nashville singer-songwriter duo of Kim and Scott Collins, is quietly building hype. Well, not quietly exactly as the pair specialize in their own brand of blues-rock (with “a sweet flavor of Southern Gothic”) but they do take it down a few notches, matching the minimalist arrangement with solo shots of the performers, in their latest video for the haunting slowburn “Something I Said.” ~ American Songwriter
—Wiebren Rijkeboer, AltCountry.NL
“Kim and Scott Collins’ new project The Smoking Flowers finds the wife-and-husband duo shedding the rock edge of their other band Pale Blue Dot for a pared-down acoustic sound that highlights their uniquely sympathetic vocals, which are front-and-center on their debut SWEET AS PORT. Hearing the lazy strumming, harmonica and Scott’s high tenor on the first 30 seconds of “Someday”, it’s difficult not to think of Neil Young, but when Kim enters shortly after, the song finds its own place, with warm, ragged, lived-in harmonies that can only come from many years of playing (and in this case living) together. The otherworldly singing and haunting mandolin of “Female Casanova” suggest equal parts Joanna Newsom and Led Zeppelin’s "Battle of Evermore," while the carnival-midway accordion and cherubic, Victrola-esque vocal track of "Falling" tweak the mystical factor even higher. SWEET AS PORT is—dare we say—charming, without crossing over into twee.”
—Jack Silverman, The Nashville Scene
“We can say something beautiful about every song on this record (the debut, Sweet As Port). The Smoking Flowers from Nashville have an abundance of talent. ...The album cover for “Sweet as Port” is an enigmatic drawing of Kim and Scott looking more like indians than your typical Nashville cowboys, which makes all the more sense because they succeed in creating a very unique alternative folk and country sound without one dose of lap or pedal steel. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” goes the saying, and this is definitely true for The Smoking Flowers, who will hopefully keep burning their musical fire for a long time to come.”
—Freddy Celis, Rootstime.BE