AHWAHNEE – World-renowned finger style guitarist Richard Smith cuts loose at Coolwater Ranch on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m., and anyone who’s into fingerpicking and great music will want to be there.
Smith’s fretboard fireworks and lyrical endeavors are designed to melt heartstrings, make toes tap and leave jaws hanging open.
The artist’s ever-growing repertoire includes a wide variety of music, from classical Bach, to Beatles pop, along with Scott Joplin Rags, Sousa marches, Chopin, Mozart and fiddle tunes. His works range from jazz standards to Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed and even to Django Reinhardt gypsy swing. He delivers both lightning-fast barn-burners and beautiful ballads, occasionally spiced with vocals. Smith’s set will also feature intriguing originals.
His stylistic wealth is founded in a lifelong love for music. Born in Beckenham, Kent, England in 1971, Richard started playing guitar at age 5 under the instruction of his father. Concentrating initially on the country picking of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis, young Richard digested everything he heard, learning even the most complicated of these tunes with ease, and confounding everyone with his dexterity. He possessed amazing physical skill, and a photographic musical memory, as well.
Often, a single hearing was all it took to get a piece under his fingers, using all ten to play bass, rhythm and melody simultaneously, while creating a universe of sounds, and easily switching between thumb-picking and flat-picking.
At just 11 years old, Smith first met his hero Chet Atkins, the “Godfather” of finger style guitar. The youngster was invited by Chet to share the stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, before an audience of 1,000. At first, the master accompanied him, but later on he just listened in stunned silence while the child played Chet’s own arrangements with perfection. By the time Smith reached his early twenties, both Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed began to refer to him as their “hero.”
Now residing in Nashville, Smith has toured the world as a solo artist, and has also teamed up with his wife, Julie Adams, for a unique guitar and cello duo. He also performs with his brothers, Rob and Sam, as the Richard Smith Guitar Trio. Smith’s swing band, The Hot Club of Nashville, features Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Pat Bergeson on guitar and Charlie Chadwick on bass.
In 2001, Smith became the National Finger Style Guitar Champion in Winfield, Kansas. He was elected Thumbpicker of the Year in 2008 and inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in Kentucky in 2009. He is also a recipient of the Golden Thumbpick Award by the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists in California.
Smith has been a mainstay at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention in Nashville since 1991, where he has played with many world renowned artists including Nato Lima of Los Indios Tabajaras, sax legend Boots Randolph, and John Jorgenson of Elton John Band fame. He has also performed with Marcel Dadi, Tommy Tedesco, Biréli Lagrène, Bryan Sutton, Les Paul, Suzy Bogguss, Muriel Anderson, Guy Van Duser, Béla Fleck, and Buster B. Jones.
Now, Robin Ralston is bringing this enormously talented artist to the Coolwater Ranch. Passes are available at Oakhurst Feed and Mountain Feed and Nursery, or you can call Robin Ralston at 559-760-1134 or email email@example.com to have a reservation at the door.
Coolwater Ranch is located in Ahwahnee, just ten minutes from Oakhurst at 45680 Forest Ridge Drive.
Just a few house rules attendees are asked to follow:
1. Please, No Alcohol, Drugs or Smoking!
2. Admission is free but there is a suggested donation for the artist of $20 to $25.
3. No children under 16.
For more information about Richard Smith, visit his website: Richard Smith Music.