In sad and unexpected news, Nova Scotia guitarist Jay Smith has passed away while on tour with Matt Mays.
Smith, a Cape Breton native, was found dead yesterday (March 27) in his hotel room in Edmonton, where he had just played a show with Mays. The cause of death is currently unclear, but CBC notes that no foul play is suspected.
Smith also played with Mays' backing band El Torpedo, which the songwriter disbanded back in 2009. He previously fronted his own band, Rock Ranger, and released a solo album in 2011 (which you can listen to below or on Bandcamp). Smith won an East Coast Music Award for SOCAN Songwriter of the Year for Gordie Sampson song's "We Are Young and So Is the Night," which he co-wrote.
Mays wrote the following heartfelt message on Facebook:
Our guitar player and dear friend Jay Smith passed away this morning in Edmonton. As you can all imagine, we are completely devastated. However, in our heart of hearts we know that we need to Play on. Jay's family as well as the band know he would have wanted it that way. All the proceeds from the remaining shows will be put into a trust for his two beautiful children. Jay's wit, charm, and unparalleled love of music will never be forgotten.
He was our brother and he will live in our hearts and song forever.
Matt, Serge, Damien, Adam and Matt
Mays and company played their scheduled show last night in Calgary and will play tonight (March 28) in Vancouver. You can see all their upcoming dates here.
UPDATE: You can watch some live footage of that final Edmonton show in the YouTube video below courtesy of Max Gilchuk.