Valerie Smith’s New Bluegrass Renaissance

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valerie smith
Valerie Smith – Renaissance

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.

Valerie Smith – I Found

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

Connect with Valerie Smith

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Instagram

Twitter

TheValerieSmith.com


Renaissance by Valerie Smith

Valerie Smith – Renaissance

Credits:

Track 1:  I’m Fine Bein’ Me  
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Mandolin:  Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes  
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Bass:  Tom Gray  
Banjo:  Joe Zauner  
Fiddle:  Wally Hughes  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 

Track 2:  Heartbreak Hill  
Written by Gary Scruggs and Tony Arata 
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Bass:  Dave Roe  
Fiddle:  Stephen Burrell  
Resonator Guitar:  Wally Hughes  
Mandolin:  Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 
  
Track 3:  On That Train  
Written by Jude Johnstone 
Strings:  Tim Lorsch  
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Synth Strings:  Kevin McKendree  
Fiddle:  Stephen Burwell  
Bass:  Dave Roe  
Harmony Vocals:  Tanya Dennis  

Track 4:  Dancing With the Stars  
Written by David Lauver, Bobby Johnston, Jerry Sally
Very Jerry Music (SESAC)/ David Haley Lauver Music (ASCAP) / Stay Close To Your Heart
Fiddle:  Stephen Burwell  
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Bass: Tom Gray  
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Harmony Vocals:  Donna Ulisse and Jerry Salley 

Track 5 Heart of Sorrow
Written by Claire Lynch and Frank Serio 
Acoustic Guitar: Bob Minner  
Fiddle:  Stephen Burwell  
Banjo:  Sammy Shelor  
Bass:  Tom Gray  
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Harmonies:  Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes, Wally Hughes 

Track 6:  The River Whispers  
Written by Claire Ulanoff and Marissa DiBlassio  
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Strings:  Kevin McKendree  
Mandolin: Andy Leftwich  
Bass:  Dave Roe  
Acoustic Guitar: Wally Hughes  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 

Track 7:  I Found  
Written by Joshua Keogh  
Mandolin:  Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes  
Strings:  Wally Hughes  
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Bass:  Tom Gray  
Mandolin:  Lisa Kay Howard Hughes  
Banjo:  Joe Zauner  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 

Track 8:  Big Red  
Written by Daniel Crabtree 
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Fiddle:  Stephen Burwell  
Banjo:  Joe Zauner  
Bass:  Tom Gray  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 

“Track 9:  Do You Know Where Your Heart is Tonight?  
Written by Jeff Walter 
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Resonator Guitar: Wally Hughes  
Mandolin:  Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes  
Fiddle:  Stephen Burwell  
Banjo:  Joe Zauner  
Bass:  Tom Gray  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 
 
Track 10:  The Great I Am  (Featuring The McCrary Sisters)
Written by Mike Lane 
Harmonies: The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Alfreda, Regina)  
Banjo:  Tim Carter  
Tamborine:  Ann McCrary  
Bass:  Dave Roe  
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Fiddle: Andy Leftwich 
Acoustic Guitar:  Jarod Easter

Track 11:  Heaven is Holding You  
Written by Ann Miller 
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Bass: Dave Roe  
Strings:  Tim Lorsch 

Track 12:  A Dollar Looked Mighty Good  
Written by Valerie Smith, Ashely Lewis  
Acoustic Guitar:  Cody Kilby  
Bass: Evan Winsor  
Fiddle:  Steven Burwell  
Mandolin:  Andy Leftwich  
Banjo:  Tim Carter  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 

Track 13:  Enter In 
Written by Claire Lynch, Irene Kelley 
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Fiddle:  Wally Hughes  
Banjo:  Joe Zauner  
Bass:  Tom Gray  
Dobro:  Wally Hughes  
Mandolin:  Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes  
Harmony Vocals: Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes 

Track 14:  Unchained  
Written by Jude Johnstone 
Acoustic Guitar:  Bob Minner  
Bass:  Dave Roe  
Dobro: Rob Ickes  
Synth Strings:  Kevin McKendree  
Harmony Vocals:  Tanya Dennis  
Fiddle:  Stephen Burwell 
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