Valerie Smith is a veteran of American roots music who has rocked the Bluegrass music world for over two decades. She and her band Liberty Pike have toured the nation for 22 years. In that time Smith has produced a remarkable catalog of 18 albums. She has earned Grammy and Dove Award nominations and has made numerous television appearances including Ronnie Reno’s, the Bluegrass Underground, Song of the Mountains, PBS, and more. Valerie Smith’s version of Gillian Welch’s “Red Clay Halo ” has been a staple at Bluegrass radio for years.
“Renaissance” is the brand new album from Valerie Smith, released worldwide to all major streaming services on September 3, 2021. Five years in the making, the record chronicles the singer’s personal journey through learning, forgiving and finding love within herself and others. Valerie Smith has introduced the 14 song set with the single “I Found,” a story of recognizing and embracing love that is hiding in plain sight. The track featured a classic bluegrass ensemble of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass and guitar. The song debuted at #5 on the Roots Music Report chart, #7 on the Bluegrass Today Grassicana Chart, and #8 on the FAI Folk DJ Chart in June 2021.
Watch the “I Found” video below, or listen on the Deep Indie Songwriters playlist. Check out “Renaissance” by Valerie Smith in its entirety here or on your favorite streaming service. We had the chance to chat with Valerie about the new single and album. Check out her answers to our 8 questions. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist. Dig into her deep catalog and get in the loop on all of the music to come from Valerie Smith.
8 Questions with Valerie Smith
Where are you from?
Bell Buckle, TN
How long have you been making music?
My entire life. I studied Music Education with an emphasis on voice. I taught music in elementary, middle school and high school. I then pursued songwriting, producing and singing commercial and roots music. I started my own Indie label 30 years ago called “Bell Buckle Records”.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
(credits listed below)
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Nancy Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, John Prine…so many!!!
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
I am influenced by paintings, art and the world around me. There are so many wonderful teachers in the world that I have had the opportunity to learn from; I consider myself lucky. I had an education professor, Dr. June Jetter, who helped me so much and taught me the importance of giving of myself to others.
What inspired you to create this project?
Beyond the search for music and the perfect interpretation, I observed life all around me and the world. “Renaissance” rises from stories of love, separation, celebration ,overcoming, and devotion. I considered myself as being reborn. With themes including self-worth and acceptance and songs about love, finding love, acceptance, and regret, the project signifies the journey I have made in my life with optimism to which others can relate.
The album includes upbeat, happy songs that encourage the listener to move to the groove and lush ballads with meaningful lyrics and melodies that grab the soul. Two songs were written by me, and the remaining selections were carefully chosen from the works of other seasoned writers to best express what I wanted to say.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
I am preparing a Folk Opera that is based on my Great Grandmother Maggie Brooks’ journal that was found in her home in Plattsburg, MO. She was a born post-Civil War in the Midwest. Her story was so amazing, I began to write songs based on sections of her story. It is now complete, but no information on a release date. Donna Ulisse, Daniel Crabtree and I wrote all of the songs. It will probably be called, “Maggie’s Journal”: The Boxcar Story. I plan to do some videography and add the music to also tell her story.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thank you so much for interviewing me and people can learn more about my music at TheValerieSmith.com