Growing up in the hills of West Virginia, Steve Smith is country music through and through. Whether it be the signature WV hat he wears as he performs, the cowboy boots on his feet or his southern accent there is no doubt, this man is country.
Smith was raised in a small town in south/central WV called Newton and then later moved to a place known as Looneyville. This unique hometown name has now become a funny topic in interviews when questioned about his roots.
It is these very same hills and hollers of WV that Smith cut his Bluegrass teeth at a young age to only years later make the move to the country music scene.
Smith started out like many with a love for music and a determination to learn to play no matter what he had to overcome. The stories are plenty as you get to know Smith and hear him tell the obstacle’s he tackled as a young man to become the musician he is today.
He was raised on the value of a hard day’s work while remaining humbled to his roots, which often shows in his personality. This work ethic that was ingrained in Smith at a young age made him decide, even with a broken arm at the age of 12, to still continue to learn how to play the banjo.
As if having a broken arm wasn’t enough of a hill to climb, while learning to play the banjo, then toss in the fact that he didn’t have enough money to purchase an instrument. He was, however, fortunate to be able to borrow his first banjo off and on from a man that recognized this love for music, year after year.
Eventually, in time Smith was able to purchase this banjo by trading his dirt bike for the instrument thus taking him places far passed his wildest dreams. As usual there is a story....one of many.
Smith’s talent was recognized as a young man in his early twenties while strolling through Nashville. He stumbled across a chance meeting with the great Charlie Daniels and the two saw a common factor in one another, a love to play music. Small talk started just like true country folks do and in this conversation Mr. Daniels asked Smith to go get his banjo. Smith sat there in with Mr. Daniels playing his banjo just as if he was sitting at home playing at his Grandfather’s Friday night gatherings.
This lead to Smith being given a job opportunity to play at Opryland Theme Park. But being young Smith took the advice of his father, passing on this job opportunity and continued to work alongside his father on the pipeline for years, all the while still playing and writing music.
A few years ago Smith was asked to pick up his guitar and start playing for crowds. This wasn’t anything new to Smith as he could be heard; picking his banjo, guitar or the mandolin while sitting around with family and friends on any given weekend but this started the adventure into country music professionally.
In June of 2009 Smith ventured to Nashville to complete his debut album, “Don’t Blame My Heart”. This album took off like a wild fire and the demand for Smith grew. He no longer could play as just a Solo artist and realized the need to form a band.
Steve found Thomas Yakopin his drummer and then Joe Dalton his bass player. With Joe came his son Casey who has been taught to run sound and also is Steve’s right hand man. Not long after 2010 “The Steve Smith Band” was created and started booking shows.
The want to always have a keyboard player was fulfilled when the band was finishing up the recording of Steve’s second album, “About You” in spring 2013.
Having traveled to Nashville many times to record there were a few songs that had just been wrote and a quick turnaround was needed to meet deadlines. This is when Audible Images was found in Pittsburgh, PA.
While recording with Hollis Greathouse from Audible Images, Steve heard him play the keyboard and then you can say the rest is history. Hollis joined the SSB in the summer 2013.
All that was missing now was a Steel Guitar.
Late summer 2013 Steve was blessed to meet a man by the name of Chuck Westfall. Chuck joined the band and they haven’t looked back since.
If Smith isn't writing his own songs he could be found making his own Custom Smith Banjo’s. There are now 8 floating around and the one Smith plays at shows was made from wood cut off his dad’s farm. I guess you could say he takes a piece of WV and home with him everywhere he goes.
Some have asked how he learned to play a Banjo like he has, mastering that 3 finger roll. He makes it look easy. Smith will tell you humbly he learned by listening to tapes of Earl Scruggs in his dad’s car before his dad left for work early in the morning. Smith is completely self-taught on all of his instruments by ear.
It just so happened as fate would have it that one day Earl Scruggs was going through North Carolina which happens to be the same place where a Smith Custom Banjo was made for a good friend. Smith wasn’t even around but that Banjo’s sound caught the ear of the great Mr. Scruggs.
Mr. Scruggs went on to tell the owner that he was bound by the company he played for to not sign other banjos but that was one of the best sounding banjos he had ever heard and he wanted to sign it. Mr. Scruggs took that Custom Smith Banjo and signed it in 3 different places.
Smith wrote his first song at the age of 12 titled, “Who Holds Tomorrow” showing his gospel roots and since has written over 30 songs. The latest 11 can be found on his second CD titled, “About You”. Both CD’s are available online as well as at shows.
Smith’s songs can be heard on Froggy Radio-94.9, 103.5 & 104.3, WKKW in Morgantown, WV and the Wolf out of Charleston, WV- WANB- Waynesburg, PA and also online.
This good ol’ country boy from a little holler in WV now has opened up for David Nail, Darryl Worley and Lee Brice.
Several of Steve’s original songs have peaked on the charts, such as “Another Beer” grabbing the #12 spot of the country music charts in Sydney Australia in July 2012. Smith’s popularity hasn’t stopped there, his song titled, “Wishing Well” held strong at #2 on Indiecharts.com for 3 weeks.
Just recently Smith wrote a jingle for a new Hunting Show coming out in 2014 titled, Raised Right Outdoors.
The Steve Smith Band has maintained a steady playing schedule and Smith does cover a Tri-State region of WV, OH, PA, MD as well as starting to venture out Nationally as the demand has been growing.
Some of the past achievements that Smith is most proud of would be playing at the Bloomsburg Fair-Bloomsburg, PA, Schmitt's Saloon- Morgantown, WV, The Wheeling Jamboree- Wheeling, WV, Playing a private party for Congresswomen Shelly Moore Capito, Roughneck Fest-Washington County, PA, Brewfest-Morgantown, WV, Fayette County Fair, PA, Garrett County Fair, McHenry, MD, “Hoe Down in the Haller” Newton, WV, Nemacolin Resort-Sundial Lodge-Farmington, PA, WISP Resort-Deep Creek Lake, MD- Being asked to play the banjo in the Bluegrass Queen herself, Rhonda Vincent band for a fill in.
The list can go on and we hope that you will be seeing YOU at a future show!