Kenny and Amanda Smith recently released the first single, "You Know That I Would," from their forthcoming album,Unbound. Their 7th album will be avaialble September 23, 2016 and is currently available for pre-order at www.kenny-amandasmith.com.
Winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association's prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2003, the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band combines gutsy, heartfelt vocals, brilliant instrumental talents and a powerful, contemporary sense of song choice and arrangement into one of the most compelling sounds in bluegrass today.
Q: Kenny and Amanda, what an honor it is to do this interview with you. The first time I heard of your music was your Gospel-bluegrass album "Tell Someone." There was such an honesty in the way you sang that really pulled on my heartstrings and ever since I have been a fan. Let's start with yourselves, tell us a little about your journey in making music and singing.
K- I started playing guitar at around age 4. My Dad and Grandpa both played the fiddle. I started getting serious about it around 1993. I got a big break when I joined Lonesome River Band in 1995. Worked in that band 6 years. Met my wife Amanda while doing a show in Milton , WV. We started our Band in 2001 on nothing but a prayer and been going ever since.
A-I have always tried to sing even before I could talk. Mom and dad listened to a lot of different music when I was growing up. Some of my favorite music was country, gospel 80's pop and 50's and 60's rock. I started singing in church and talent contest. I didn't hear bluegrass until I was in high school.
Q: At the end of September, you will be releasing your 7th album "Unbound." Did you approach the making of this record any different from the other albums?
K- With the birth of our first child, Annabelle , we had a 5 year stretch in between our last project and Unbound. We really had a lot of time to collect some outstanding songs. The main difference was Annabelle coming into our lives and changing our perspective of life itself. That makes you sing and play different.
Q: Why did you call it "Unbound"?
K-It kind of sums up the overall attitude of this project. There is a lot of emotion on these tracks because of the songs we chose. Hopefully the listener will feel the same way we did.
Q: What were you looking out for in a song when you were choosing songs to record?
K- We have to connect with the song lyrics above everything. If it makes us feel something and speaks to our hearts then we can try bring that idea out more when we record it. We have never recorded a song because we thought it might do well on a chart. We have been fortunate that folks like what we do.
Q: Though I have not heard the album yet, but the song titles are so intriguing that they sound like movies in the making. My favorite being "Preaching My Own Funeral." Tell us more about this song.
K- Oh, that's a great song written by Barry Bales and Craig Market. It talks about your journey in life and how you live it. It makes you stop and think --- after we leave this world was our everyday walk a witness to others?
Q: I also love the title "Every Pilgrim Needs a Highway." Tell us more about the song.
K - This one was penned by Thomas Jutz and Craig Market. It talks about our individual travel through life and finding that place where we belong. I love the second verse where it talks about a musician hitchiking that tried to make it in the music business and didn't. now he's back on the road trying to find a home but he's got no place to go.
Q: What are a couple of your own favorite tunes off this new record? And why?
K- Mine would be "Nightbird." I love Amanda's vocal on this song. It's the best vocal I've ever heard her sing. It absolutely blew me away when she sang it in the studio. I will never forget it.
Also, "Tea Party" is a favorite, but one of hardest songs I have ever tried to sing in the studio. I was just overcome with pure emotion in the studio. It's about how God blesses us with children and we suddenly realize that that's all that matters.
A- One of my favorite songs is "You Know That I Would." I was expecting when I first heard the demo and just cried because I loved it so much. To me the lyrics speak of if you could wish a life without pain, challenges, heartbreak and all of the crazy curves life throws at you for your child you would. You would make their life happy and perfect. It is truly one of my favorite songs we have ever recorded.
Tea Party would be my second favorite. When I was still expecting we were getting the nursery ready and Kenny played the song for me. He then told me that he had found it several years ago and saved it to record for when we had a child. He's so thoughtful like that.
Q: I believe you are currently touring in support of the new record. Where can our readers find out more about your touring dates and music?
A- Please keep up with us on our website. www.kenny-amandasmith.com