LA Man (Excerpt from review of Golden State album by Penny Nichols)"

This album has some brilliantly composed, arranged and performed songs with a myriad of beautiful lyrics. All the songs are great especially “LA Man” by Nina Jo Smith which is a marvelous song of memories and musings, the words are like pictures in a photo-album, turning pictures rapidly, stopping at a few to ponder....

- Ricky Kej

LA Man

I love this song by Nina Jo Smith! I lived every image that is so beautifully nested in it. I even met Janis once at the Tiffany Theatre on the Sunset Strip. Drove the canyons and the Glen innumerable times, lived in Venice in '66 and would run intoTim Buckley on the bus to Santa Monica or Westwood. In the 70's I lived within sight of the H'wood Bowl. In '82 I headed North. Thank you Nina Jo and Penny for this classic!

- Corey Fischer

Stephen's Indie Picks

“Nina Jo Smith has written and recorded a seminal folk classic in ‘Hey Songwriter’”.

“This is what every songwriter feels when the song comes out of nowhere. Sure, we’re none of us ‘Dylan, Taylor & Prine’, but we’re fishing in the same stream, just downstream a bit. Produced by Martin Young, with Alan Thornhill on backup vocals, you’ll get goose pimples if you’ve ever wondered where some songs come from.”



This album is like inviting your wisest, warmest friend over on a sunny, peaceful afternoon, laughing and reminiscing over a glass of wine. Nina Jo's voice sounds so pretty on this record, pure and flowing, and I love it when she pulls off her trademark high float in the choruses - for example, when it's "time to play" in "Out On a Limb." The lyrics are refreshingly specific, evoking particular people, animals, places, and even food with such precision, you'll feel like you're digging into your own plate of "Basted Eggs!" I look forward to future records from this artist.

Crowd Review For Hey Songwriter

“This truly is a stunning track, with bold, bright guitars expertly produced to transport to the listener to a very happy place. The female vocals are very pleasant, with an almost 'old timey' feel, sounding almost like Sinead O'Connor. The male backing vocals also compliment this perfectly, creating a beautiful harmony. The harmonica was just right, adding to the song without being too overpowering. Overall a beautifully stunning track.”

“Lovely acoustic guitar solo at the beginning of the song, very clear and focused. Beautiful entry into the song,,lovely voice. sounds peaceful and the song is calming me. Good vocal range too, the song took me on a peaceful journey. The backing singer added a lot more energy into the song and the harmonies are brilliant. When the harmonica came in, it was bliss. This song is a great length and I could listen forever as it chills me out.”

“Nice start to the song, gentle, interesting rhythm, nice guitars. Great overall atmosphere, nice that the drums/rhythm section is silent. And then WOW - when the vocalist starts singing - she's really great. Sultry, gentle, tuneful, soulful vocalist. The subject matter and lyrical style is really great - I'd love to hear more from this artist. The male backing vocalist, harmonizing with the beautiful lead vocalist is great. A really nice mix.”

I4U News

What The World Needs Now Is ‘Make Love Not War’ - New Music for 9/11 by Nina Jo Smith

Redwood River Music announces Nina Jo Smith's new single on indie label Musik and Film, a ukelele reggae inspired by the events of 9/11 penned with a light touch. This song is a swinging “Little Boxes” for the 21st century.

Nina Jo Smith (songwriter, ukelele, vocals) returned to music after a long silence. For twenty years after her younger brother was murdered, Nina Jo devoted herself to anti-violence work. She studied martial arts, founded The SAFE Place at San Francisco State University and taught self-defense to more than a thousand people. When Nina Jo returned to performing in the late 90s, she discovered a renaissance of guitar-based song and receptive audiences of all ages. Nina Jo brings the focus and passion of a martial artist to her gentle music. “Make Love Not War “ was recorded in Ojai, California as part of her forthcoming album, People, Places and Sings. The single is available at

Nina Jo and best friend Scott Eckersley co-wrote “Make Love Not War “after 9/11. Scott had been a draft resister during the Vietnam War and received a rare Presidential Pardon from President Gerald Ford. The two friends bring a lifetime of thought, feeling and wit to this song.

Alan Thornhill (bg vocals) has backed Hoyt Axton, Kate Wolf, Jim Messina; composed for Messina and Kenny Loggins and released three of his own CDs. He is an award winning guitarist (The Telluride Fingerstyle Guitar Championship), an oft-covered songwriter and a unique and soulful singer. Alan’s most recent release is Guitarpenter’s Dream on the Matilija label.

Martin Young (producer, guitars, bass, Hammond B3) has worked throughout the U.S. in major markets and on national television shows including The Tonight Show, Letterman and Good Morning America. He backed country singer Clint Black on the road and in the studio (guitar, 16 years). Martin has also performed with Martina McBride, Don Henley and others. Martin produces independent artists’ custom CD projects and runs Music City Demos, based in Nashville, TN.

The music is published by indie music publisher, Redwood River Music (BMI) distributed by Musik and Film and The Orchard. Musik and Film’s Radio promotions division has released the song to over 13,000 radio stations in 60 countries and is adding radio stations daily for airplay.

“Nina Jo brings back everything I loved about the 1960s, the dream of peace, the power of love and a disdain for the war machine. This is a perfect time for that emotion to resurface, and her song "Make Love Not War" really hits the nail on the head... but with a flower instead of a hammer. Another thing I love about it is that I keep hearing Bob Marley in my head! I believe Bob would have loved this one as well.” - Michael Buffalo Smith,

Ojai Valley News

Ojai native releases single

Nina Jo Smith's single, “Make Love Not War,” was co-written by Ojai resident Scott Eckersley and features Alan Thornhill and Martin Young.

Nina Jo Smith's song, “Make Love Not War,” was released Aug. 10. The song is a ukelele reggae inspired by the events of 9/11 and described as “a swinging 'Little Boxes' for the 21st century.”

Smith, who did the vocals and played the ukelele, is an indie song- writer who grew up in Ojai and now lives in San Francisco.

“Make Love Not War” also features Alan Thorn- hill, who provided back- ground vocals, and Martin Young on guitars, bass and Hammond B3. Young was also the producer.

“It was really great,” Smith said of her experi- ence working with Thornhill and Young. “Actually, I'm recording a whole CD with Martin. Alan will be on a total of three songs. He's pretty much doing a duet on another song and then doing guitar and vocals on the third song with me. When the CD comes out, there will be quite a bit of Alan and Martin all over it.” The CD, which will come out in the fall, is called “People, Places & Sings.”

“Make Love Not War” had received airplay on 29 radio stations interna- tionally in advance of its Aug. 10 release date. Smith said that she co- wrote her song with Ojai resident Scott Eckersley.

“We wrote the song not long after Sept. 11. There's a little bit of a sense of humor to it, but we were hoping the response of people would be not go to war in response, but to try to open up and be peaceful instead. It didn't work out so well,” Smith chuckled. “But the song is still relevant and seems to be pretty relevant all the time. I recently came up with a more reggae version with the main instrument is the ukulele.” Smith added that the song, with a message that is timeless, has a really fun feel and is a sing- along.

“I feel really lucky and blessed to be working with Alan and Martin,” she said. “Martin is taking great care with my songs and Alan brings his great skills and soul to every song he's on. It's so great having his vocals on this song - balances my vocals out with just the right amount of spirited guy- energy. And that's the spirit Scott and I wrote it in. Gentle, but with some sharp wit,” Smith said. “I'm really happy with this ukelele reggae arrangement and the way the single turned out.”

“Make Love Not War” is now available for down- load on iTunes and

Universal Music Tribe

Nina Jo brings back everything I loved about the 1960s, the dream of peace, the power of love and a disdain for the war machine. This is a perfect time for that emotion to resurface, and her song "Make Love Not War" really hits the nail on the head... but with a flower instead of a hammer. Another thing I love about it is that I keep hearing Bob Marley in my head! I believe Bob would have loved this one as well.
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