Valerie Smith Press Page
“Non-stop energy, passion included with a tremendous love for her audience. Valerie has soul.”
Valerie Smith Bio:
Valerie Smith is an award-winning Grassicana artist whose style is a mixture of bluegrass, country, and Americana music. NPR radio host Dave Higgs has noted, "She can be sassy, sultry, siren-like, sweet, smooth, soothing and smoldering---sometimes during the span of just one song!"
Valerie Smith has developed a unique style and sound that has rocked the bluegrass world for almost two decades with a string of national and international tours, critically acclaimed recordings, and Grammy, IBMA, and Dove Award nominations. Val's vocals are impressive. She has a staggeringly expansive range and the ability to portray an amazing array of emotions. As NPR radio host Dave Higgs, has noted, "She can be sassy, sultry, siren-like, sweet, smooth, soothing and smoldering---sometimes during the span of just one song!" Valerie Smith and her East Coast-based band, Liberty Pike featuring legendary Hall of Famer, Tom Gray on bass, are consistent audience pleasers and skilled musicians. When Valerie walks onstage with her fabulous band, expect to be inspired, amused, and thoroughly entertained.
Originally from Missouri and now based in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, a charming little historic town just southeast of Nashville, Valerie Smith is an award-winning bluegrass and American roots artist and songwriter. Since 1998 Smith has made thousands of fans and friends with her music, on stages across the United States, as well as in Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom. Her band is named “Liberty Pike” after the road that connects Bell Buckle to Nashville.
When you listen to Valerie’s unique voice, you can hear influences from bluegrass, blues, gospel music and even Broadway show tunes. Her personal background is just as interesting and varied. Valerie holds a Master’s degree in Music from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and she taught music for seven years in her home state before marrying Craig Smith (another fine musician and songwriter) and moving to Nashville.
Her three years as an account executive for a marketing firm in Music City gave Val a valuable crash course in promotion, video and photography to go along with her music degree. In the evening she was working on her songwriting and singing wherever she could. Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Louvin and the Nashville Bluegrass Band’s Alan O’Bryant became her music mentors in Nashville. Louvin invited Val onstage with him at the Grand Ole Opry, and O’Bryan produced her debut album, Patchwork Heart—which included a duet with Charlie on “My Baby’s Gone.”
Valerie’s hit single, “Red Clay Halo,” written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, climbed the Bluegrass Unlimited, Country Music and Americana reporting charts, receiving heavy radio airplay for five years. BU included the song in their list of the top 60 songs of the decade.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, commissioned Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike to create a special “Bluegrass in the Schools” program to share bluegrass music and its history with thousands of students in western Kentucky for 15 years. She later developed the “American Roots Music” program, which she continues to present in the United States and overseas.
Smith was invited by producer Bil VornDick and the legendary Ralph Stanley to be a part of the Grammy-nominated album, Clinch Mountain Sweethearts. Val and Stanley sang “I’ll Remember You, Love in My Prayers.”
Country Music Hall of Famer, Tom T. Hall made a special appearance on Valerie’s second album No Summer Storm. Tom T guested on “Sit Down and Cry,” a song written by Miss Dixie and Tom T Hall. The Halls also invited Valerie to participate in all three albums by the “Daughters of Bluegrass,” featuring an all-female cast of singers and musicians, on Blue Circle Records.
Smith recorded a CD of duets with Becky Buller called Here’s a Little Song, which received critical acclaim. After 10 years in Liberty Pike, Buller formed her own touring band and has become a respected singer, songwriter, and bandleader in her own right. And Val couldn’t be prouder of her! Andy Leftwich, the fiddler with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, also worked for five years in Liberty Pike. The list of incredibly talented musicians and singers who have stood in the Liberty Pike circle onstage with Valerie Smith is too numerous to list here.
Smith released her first gospel album, Wash Away Your Troubles, and her arrangement of “Wade in the Water” was included in the independent movie, Bell Witch: The Movie. Valerie, Kraig, and Buller also co-wrote the song, “Ole John Bell,” which appeared in the soundtrack for the film.
Valerie and her band have appeared on several television shows, including Ronnie Reno’s television numerous times, including performances on Reno’s Old Time Country Music on RFD, Bluegrass Underground, and Song of the Mountains, both on PBS.
Valerie recently released a project, "Small Town Heroes" with her band that is located in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC area. Tom Mindte at Patuxent Studios and Valerie co-produced and engineered the project.
In addition to national and international tour dates, Smith continues to write, produce and record music released by Bell Buckle Records.