Biography: Jan Smith Band
THE JAN SMITH BAND, based in central Virginia, distills the roots of folk, pop, bluegrass, classic country, and jazz into a distinctive Americana sound. Smith’s strong songwriting and vocals are complemented by the seasoned musicianship of her band. Players include Tom Proutt on lead guitar, switching between a Martin D-28 and electric instruments. Mandolin and guitar player Jeff Vogelgesang also performs with Alvin Breeden and the Virginia Cutups, a widely respected traditional bluegrass band. Upright bass player Gerald Soriano from northern Virginia joined the group in June 2002, and Ethan Bauley, a drummer also from northern Virginia has recently started sitting in with the band.
After leaving her hometown near Louisville, Kentucky, JAN SMITH traveled from San Francisco to Seattle to Maine’s Mount Desert Island. Supporting herself through jobs at bagel shops, movie theaters, offices, and schools, she explored these coastal regions and her growing love for writing songs. In 1999, during her last summer in New England, she attended Jimmie Dale Gilmore's songwriting workshop in Rhinebeck, New York. After the workshop, Smith stopped by Gilmore’s show at the Towne Crier Café in Pawling and was called to the stage by the Texas singer/songwriter to perform one of her roots originals – a slow, hard country tune called “Dime on the Floor.” On New Year’s Eve of that year, JAN SMITH traveled to central Virginia to visit friends from the workshop. She discovered a rich community of songwriters and musicians in the Charlottesville area and decided to stay.
Since 2000, she has collaborated with THE JAN SMITH BAND on arrangements of a growing body of original work. The band includes: Tom Proutt (lead guitar); Jeff Vogelgesang (mandolin and resonator guitar); Gerald Soriano (upright bass); and Ethan Bauley (percussion). In 2002, she released her debut album, Tin Heart.
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