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Jesse Ray Smith with Go By Ocean

Presented by Sweetwater Music Hall at Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley CA

Sep 14 2023
Jesse Ray Smith with Go By Ocean

Jesse Ray Smith

Jesse is a singer-songwriter dedicated to the pursuit of crafting timeless songs & records

Jesse Ray Smith with Go By Ocean at Sweetwater Music Hall
* Thursday, September 14, 8:00 pm show

Back to Yesterday is a collection of 8 West Coast Americana songs written by Jesse Ray Smith and his long time writing partner Sean Cox.

For this album, Jesse brought in the Grammy Winning team for 2023’s Best Folk Album, Revealer by Madison Cunningham — Producer Tyler Chester and Engineer David Boucher. Tyler was awarded the task of sifting through a catalog of nearly 100 songs written during COVID, injecting his wise indie-folk musical genius and translating that to Jesse’s Bay Area band of circus touring / Journey Through Time / rock n roll renegades.

The goal was to come away with something analog and real that reflected and spoke to the times. The songs were recorded mostly live and the ‘Keepers’ EP was recorded to tape using Boucher’s 8-track tape machine.

For both albums, Back to Yesterday and Keepers, Jesse and Sean hand-picked a collection of song lyrics from the notebooks of San Diego poet Alfred Howard to craft to. These were poems written by Howard on road trips and hikes during the introspection of the COVID lockdowns.

They painted a picture of a need for slower pace, reconnection and repurpose in a hyperbolic California, fraught with wild fire and dying legends.

In one of the albums singles Born of Fire, Howard writes “There’s no more open road — We’ve all but choked the sky. I think we’re going home — I think there comes a time. And what was it you said to me that got me close to crying? Red roses for the dead are roses born to die”.

Recurring lyrical themes of Fire and Smoke, Stars and City lights, California flowers and landscapes, loss and reconnection, past love and nostalgia all evoke the spirit; these make up both records, and the music itself harkens a nostalgic connection to Jesse’s youth, leaning deeper into the analog world.

Jesse grew up in the vibrant music scene of Marin County, where Jerry Garcia still reigns king from the grave and the bars are buzzing with live bands 7 nights a week. On these records, Bar band Rock n’ Roll is paired with a fine class of red, giving these albums the aged taste of a true American past-time.

On the Back to Yesterday LP, soaring guitar solos and big CSNY vocal harmonies of the 70’s are paired with string quartets and rubber bridged baritone guitars, giving a current indie folk flavor that feels unique to this record. The Keepers EP doubles down and trades the strings for 80’s synthesizers as the band aims for festival stages in 2024.


Tickets $18 * Does not include convenience or handling fees.
All Ages

Contact: (415) 388-3850


    Official Website

Additional time info:

Doors:  7:00 pm  |  Show: 8:00 pm


Sweetwater Music Hall

19 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941


There is ample street and city parking available around the venue. Please be sure to observe all posted signs regarding parking and parking meters, and do not park in prohibited spaces or areas. As a courtesy to our neighbors, please park in metered spots and city lots rather than residential areas. We offer validation for the Sunnyside lot–ask for it at the Cafe register.

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