These days, Ashley Smith stays busy as the owner and operator of Alive And Fine—a vintage shop in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood—and as one of the founders/organizers responsible for the annual Hover Craft maker fair (which is set to return to The Pritzlaff Building on December 5). She also runs the recurring One Trick Pony pop up flea market and, oh yeah, is a mother of two as well. Though she’s developed quite an impressive reputation in the Midwestern vintage, maker, arts, and craft realms, Smith is also one hell of a lead singer.

Recently, My First Band host Tyler Maas stopped by Alive And Fine and asked Smith about her business, Hover Craft’s return, and about her on-stage alter ego as the frontwoman of renowned Milwaukee acts like Red Knife Lottery and Whips. Over the course of the conversation, Smith spoke about singing harmonies on her mother’s church compositions as a kid, finding and quickly immersing herself in the basement show and legion hall scene as a teenager, recording with John Congleton and playing with Paramore during the Red Knife days, memorable moment from her Whips tenure, and much more. Along the way, Smith also talked about co-founding Girls Rock Milwaukee camp and teased an upcoming song she’s working on.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Whips (“Nobody’s Fool”).

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