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New Brad Album Spotlights Late Vocalist Shawn Smith

First single and title track from 'In the Moment That You're Born' is out today (April 27)
Photo: Daniel Zetterstrom

Some of the final recordings vocalist Shawn Smith made with Seattle band Brad before his 2019 passing will be included on the group’s upcoming album, In the Moment That You’re Born. The 10-song project will be released July 28 by Brad/Pearl Jam member Stone Gossard‘s Loosegroove label, of which Brad drummer Regan Hagar is also a founder and creative director.

Out today, the title track is one of the heavier Brad songs ever, with Smith singing in a lower register than usual atop Gossard and Keith Lowe’s swirling guitar attack. Hagar says the song comes from a weekend recording session about five years ago and that Smith’s vocal offers almost a gospel vibe. Sonically, it harkens back to Smith and Hagar’s other project Satchel, which was often active in parallel with Brad in the ’90s.

“A large swirling soundscape with a beautiful vocal over the top and Stone’s melodic lead as our vehicle driving us through the track — a beautiful journey,” Hagar tells SPIN. “I love it when we go to this zone.”

Gossard, Hagar, and Lowe have spent several years collecting and polishing material since Smith’s death, a process Gossard tells SPIN reminded him of Smith’s unique artistry. “Shawn Smith had an amazing antenna for the sublime and transmitted those currents into his vocals,” he says. “He was fearless about improvisation and loved creation. Shawn thrived when the stakes were high — he was a profoundly adventurous artist.


Smith was born in Spokane, Wa., settled into Seattle, and released his first album under the name Pigeonhed in 1993, around the same time he began playing in Brad with Gossard, Hagar, and co-founding member Jeremy Toback.

In a nod to group members’ storied Seattle music lineages, which encompass Malkfunkshun, Green River, Mother Love Bone, and Pearl Jam, Brad also covers the Malfunkshun song “Stars N’ You” on the new album; the group featured Hagar and future Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, and its original version on the 1986 Deep Six compilation was an early career standout.

“For a lot of us, Deep Six was the first time we heard Malkfunkshun recorded,” Gossard says. “We’d all seen the power of Andrew in the local clubs, but it was amazing to hear how good he and the band really were in the studio. ‘Stars N’ You” is Brad’s way of acknowledging our love of Andrew and the profound impact he had in our lives.”

Other than the title track, which was mixed by Pearl Jam producer/engineer Josh Evans, In the Moment That You’re Born was recorded and mixed by Floyd Reitsma at Gossard’s Studio Litho in Seattle. Hagar created the artwork, which features images by Seattle photographer Lance Mercer.

The album arrives the same day as a 30th anniversary reissue of Brad’s 1993 debut album, Shame. That effort will be released in a vinyl and CD configuration plus four other variants: ultra blue swirl and clear with white smoke (limited to 500 copies each from Loosegroove’s Web site), a blue opaque indie retail variant; and a clear with black smoke edition exclusive to members of Pearl Jam’s Ten Club fan organization.