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Husky-voiced pop-soul singer/songwriter and pianist Jonah Smith grew up in Syracuse, NY, and got his start playing with bassist Ben Rubin in Burlington, VT, in the mid-'90s. The two relocated to Boston, and Smith formed a band called Deluxe. In 2000, the band moved to Brooklyn, where, by November 2000, it had evolved into the Jonah Smith Band, featuring a returning Rubin along with David Soler on guitar and pedal steel, Bob Reynolds on saxophone, and Marko Djordjevic on drums. They built up a following in the Northeast, recording the self-released albums Industry Rule (2001) and Beneath the Underdog (2003). After Smith appeared at the SXSW music conference in 2006, he obtained a manager and a booking agent, and he signed to Relix Records, which gave him his first national CD release with Jonah Smith on June 27, 2006.