media quotes

"The Columbus seven-piece, which recorded its fifth and latest effort in its West Side studio, sustains a pop sound with shades of soul and jazz."

-Kevin Joy, The Columbus Dispatch

"Local indie-pop act Trace Marie and blue level 's new album Rayleigh Scattering is a tribute and interpretation of the sounds that have defined Columbus music through the years."

-Jim Fischer, The Grove City Record

“They prove to be a break-through modern pop act capable of delighting most audiences.  Blue Level fuses jazz, rock and pop to create adult-contemporary magic.  As I was watching them, I got a Fleetwood Mac kind of feeling.”      

 -Christine Davis, Entertainment Columbus.

“Led by strong-lunged, sultry singer Trace Marie, Blue Level should appeal to anyone who enjoys Fleetwood Mac, Santana and 10,000 Maniacs.  Spin the record between say, Carol King’s Tapestry and Norah Jones.”                  

-Aaron Beck, The Columbus Dispatch.

“On its debut independent album, Unusual Days, Blue Level builds its jazzy rock with big potential.”       

 -The Columbus Dispatch.

“Balancing youthful exuberance with wizened maturity is a common theme in the Blue Level lexicon.  Their first CD, Unusual Days, combines Joni Mitchell’s introspection with slick jazz---the skittering basslines, the omnipresent saxophone wail.”

-Rob Harvilla, The Other Paper.

“The name, Blue Level, which means deep and even, aptly describes the band’s refreshing style of pop and rock.  Trace Marie commands a sensual three octave range voice.”   

-Cindy Kazalia, The Columbus Messenger.

“The melodic turns on songs like Takes Time, and rhythmic and time variance on Lost are themselves worth the price of purchase."

-Adam Garratt, Columbus Alive.

                    “There’s enough shiny melody lurking in Evenings to make it worth the trip.”   

-Rob Harvilla, The Other Paper.

List of clients with excellent reviews

The Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State University Faculty Club and Huntington Club

Greater Columbus Arts Council

Columbus Arts Festival

Granville Arts Festival

Powell Festival

Columbus Jazz Festival

Gahanna Jazz Festival

Victoria Secret

New Albany Country Club

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and Catering

Franklin Park Conservatory

City of Gahanna

 Worthington Concerts on the Green

Short North Business Association

Red, White, and Boom Festival

Columbus Humane Society Fundraisers

Private Parties


The Messenger Newspaper

Man’s Passion for Music Lends to Help for the Needy

By Cindy Kazalia

Messenger Newspaper


Two passions possess Bradley Scott Smith. They connect within his soul and guide his thoughts, his choices…his very life. Every day resonates with their distinct sounds. And each, in its own way, gives this gifted man great joy.


What are Brad’s Smith’s passions? The first is teaching children. The second is creating music.


The youngest of three boys, Bradley grew up in the Columbus area. It was here, in the activities of childhood, that he first realized his desire to teach children. “I always knew from an early age that I would become a teacher,” says Brad. “As a kid, I was the one who was always offering to help our den mother prepare for the Boy Scout meetings. I was the one who assisted my teachers in school.”


This inner knowing eventually took him to Ohio State University where he earned a degree in teaching. Brad then began his professional career in South-Western City Schools, first at Brookpark Middle School and then, more recently, at Holt Crossing Intermediate School.


Visitors to Mr. Smith’s classroom quickly observe his easy interactive style with students. He connects with young people in a respectful, compassionate manner. A quick sense of humor coupled with a strong belief in every child’s ability to excel further enhances the relationships. And it is this belief, that every child can excel, which drives Brad Smith.


Perhaps that’s because someone once believed in him. Brad’s mother, an accomplished pianist, certainly believed in her son. And, while she died of cancer when he was but 10 years old, her influence prompted him to explore his musical gifts. He learned to play the guitar and, by the time Mrs. Smith’s youngest son was a freshman in high school, he wrote his own music and lyrics and performed in various music groups. Brad also actively participated in the Columbus music scene and beyond. His band Supplication, known for its folk/rock and improvisational style, played for many Ohio establishments.


Today, Brad Smith both manages and plays guitar for a band known as Trace Marie & Blue Level. The name, which means “fresh and even,” aptly describes the band’s refreshing style of blues, jazz, pop and rock. With lead singer Trace Marie, the group plays at spots throughout Columbus. Brad and Tracey also regularly play as a duo at coffee shops, including Borders Bookstores. This summer, the entire band plans a festival tour with most concert dates set around central Ohio.


As with teaching, Brad Smith uses his musical gifts to help others. In 1996, Brad worked with the Columbus Homeless Coalition to cut a CD. Proceeds from the sale of that CD have brought in approximately $5,000 for the homeless. Brad and Blue Level also participate in the Columbus Musician’s Homeless Awareness Concert. An annual event, this year’s concert will be held on May 20th from noon to 7 p.m. in the Short North’s Goodale Park.


In second grade, Brad Smith wanted to be a standup comedian. Children and music lovers alike are glad he did not pursue that dream. Their lives have been forever changed by his many gifts.


For more information on Blue Level or their most recent CD, “Unusual Days,” visit their website at All of their recordings are available at Borders Bookstores. 


(Cindy Kazalia is a staff writer for the Messenger newspapers, a substitute teacher in the South Western City School District and a Grove City resident.)

The Dispatch



Meet the band: Trace Marie and Blue Level

After almost 15 years together, Blue Level is taking it to the next level.

A new album, to be celebrated Sunday during the band’s release-party concert, marks “a new evolution for us,” said vocalist Trace Smith.

“These songs very much define who we are.”

The Columbus seven-piece, which recorded its fifth and latest effort in its West Side studio, sustains a pop sound with shades of soul and jazz.

Smith, 36, spoke about the group’s spectrum.

Q: To what do you credit the band’s longevity?

A: We’re great friends. Playing music for so long, we just naturally meshed with each other. When you play with such great artists, it’s very easy to get onstage.

Q: How do you approach songwriting?

A: Every song that we write is usually about an experience. Since we improvise so much, a lot of our songs really are metaphors — songs of liberation, journeys through life, finding love and struggles with relationships and friendships.

My husband, Bradley, the guitarist, he’s an amazing composer and writer. We just sit in our kitchen and write a melody. The band is just so great. We can take something we’re thinking in a moment and bring an idea to the table.

Q: What inspired the title of your forthcoming record, Rayleigh Scattering?

A: It’s a theory that was made by a gentleman named (Lord) Rayleigh (aka John William Strutt, a 1904 Nobel Prize winner).

Years ago, he talked about how the speckling of light shines down on the Earth and why we see the color blue.

Q: And what about the name “Blue Level” itself?

A: (When forming the band), I said: “What do we like?” Our saxophonist said: “I really like the color blue.”

We are a deep band, a very emotional band. The “level” is that we’re all the same. Nobody’s better. We are all on the same level with each other.

Q: You mention the “Columbus sound.” What defines that to you?

A: We tend to listen to a lot of classic Ohio jazz and soul music. We’ve been influenced by so many great bands over the years.

Columbus is very historic for the local music scene; it’s like Seattle. We’re trying to give back. There’s a lot of greatness here.

— Kevin Joy