This concert will be presented as planned, though some future ones have been canceled and more may be.
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In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about “roots” music. Is it folk music? Is it country, blues, rock? The answer is YES. It’s all of these, and more. “Roots” is simply music that draws from traditional American musical styles, usually mixing these styles to create a hybrid musical form. On Friday, March 13, singer -songwriter, Grant Maloy Smith will bring his particular mixture of American roots, country, bluegrass and folk to Fiddlers Crossing.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Smith spent a good portion of his younger days in Rhode Island. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design, but opted, eventually, to focus on music. He headed a rock band called Britannia that opened for the likes of Elvin Bishop, Steppenwolf and The Guess Who. Beginning in 2008, he wrote and self-produced several albums of pop-rock music for his own label, Small Dog Records. He was already beginning to mix folk and Americana into his sound. In another album, he experimented with reggae structures. By 2012, Smith had fully transitioned to American roots music and has continued with it ever since.
The last few years have been busy ones for Grant Maloy Smith. In 2014, he sang on several tracks of a roots-gospel album, including one of his own songs, “Where Main Street Ends”. The following year, he was asked to narrate a piece on a spoken word album called, “Arise Above the Abuse-Artists Speak Out For Women”. He also contributed a song about the kidnapping of women and girls in Africa called, “She Would Not Bow Her Head”.
He released his album, “Dust Bowl-American Stories,” in 2017. The next year he was invited to perform it at the Kern County Museum as well as Bakersfield High School. The album spent 17 weeks on the Billboard charts, including 11 weeks in the Top 10 of the Americana/Folk Album Sales Chart. No Depression magazine, the bible of American roots music, wrote about Smith: “He has written a heartland masterpiece…lyrics and music as potent as Woody Guthrie.”
Smith has toured the U.S, Europe and Mexico, even performing at Carnegie Hall. He’s appeared on Song of the Mountains for PBS, and Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, which is carried by more than 500 stations nationwide as well as broadcast on PBS.
As if, all of this were not enough, Smith authored a children’s book called “Fly Possum Fly” in 2018, which won a Gold Mom’s Choice Award. He has also contributed songs to a number of films and written and performed songs as well as acted in a number of feature films over the years. His most recent, “Oildale”, was filmed in Bakersfield. He was named “Best Americana Artist” and “Best Folk Artist” by The Indie Music Channel, and was awarded Grammy’s for his album production work.
Grant Maloy Smith is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the world of entertainment. Still, with all the success that has come to him over the years, he has remained true to his “roots”, as a musician, singer, songwriter, veterans advocate, and most important, as a human being.