Bluegrass ambassadors Hank Smith and Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw join forces once again with their original and energetic new soulgrass band, Hank and Pattie. The newly formed Hank and Pattie take traditional bluegrass and infuse it with their own flair, drawing from a melting pot of styles including Latin and Jazz, which adds up to an authentic and unique reflection of American music. “We all come from different backgrounds but seem to have a common link that has connected us from the beginning. Each individual brings his or her piece of the puzzle to the table, and this ensemble forms its own unique sound,” Pattie says in a September, 2015, article in Bluegrass Today. While some of the music sounds old school and some sounds fresh and new, their overall musicianship, vocal harmonies, impassioned delivery and innovative arrangements captivate all generations of music lovers. Both Hank and Pattie are music educators, passionate about teaching the next generation how to make this music and deliver it with feeling and emotion. “It's important to make sure students and fans alike can access themselves and the greater whole with music and art to express themselves in a positive way,” says Hank.
Hank Smith Growing up in rural Florence, SC--where summer heat indices top 120 degrees--a teenaged Hank Smith could only find respite by locking himself up in his room and playing banjo for hours and hours. Here he readily consumed and thrived on a diet of banjo music from a variety of sources. Making its home in a nearby state park, the Southeastern Bluegrass Assoc. would meet the first Saturday of every month for a jam and concert. Hank attended these local meetings and by hiding in the back of jam groups, watching fingers, and listening for changes, he figured out how to operate the instrument that was to be his lifeblood. After a year and a half, Hank went to college at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC where, finding no one with whom to play bluegrass, he instead discovered a diverse community of musicians with a far reaching body of influence and absorbed all manner of rock, jazz, reggae, folk, blues, classical and anything in between. In that time, he earned a BA and eventually an MA in Middle Eastern History.
Upon earning his MA, he went on tour full-time with Raleigh, NC jamgrass juggernaut, Barefoot Manner. Hank toured the country extensively with Barefoot Manner until the band left the road in 2009, and he has since played in a variety of projects such as The Hotwires, The Kickin Grass Band, and No Strings Attached. Currently, he hosts a weekly bluegrass oriented music series called Beer & Banjos, presented by Younger Brother Productions with Tir Na Nog Irish Pub and fronts the world's first and only tribute to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Blu-Bop. Hank also maintains a roster of around 25 students in banjo, mandolin and guitar privately and through the Raleigh Music Academy where he continues to train an army of banjo students and will soon unleash them upon the world...when no one expects it.
Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw began playing the violin at age four and received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogue Certification from East Carolina University studying with Joanne Bath and Ara Gregorian. Pattie is an extremely versatile musician and has a tremendous talent for Fiddling as well as Classical Violin. She has studied with Fiddling legends Bobby Hicks and Mark O’Connor. Pattie also has a passion for the education of young fiddlers and also holds her certification in the Mark O’Connor American Violin Method. She resided in Asheville, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee playing regularly on Broadway while helping to start the Bluegrass Underground Project in McMinnville, TN. Pattie has made appearances at a variety of music venues on the East Coast. Pattie has also made special guest appearances with famous and talented musicians including Don Helms, Bobby Osbourne, and Charlie Daniels. She currently holds two private studios in North Carolina and is frequently invited to teach workshops throughout the United States for both Fiddling and Classical instruction. She performs regularly in the Eastern United States and is currently a member of multiple ensembles including the Trent River Chamber Players, The Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and bluegrass and Americana project the Lynda & Pattie duo. She loves spending time sailing on the coast, playing music with friends and loves to travel!
Hank and Pattie are backed by an all-star band comprised of North Carolina musicians E. Scott Warren on Bass, Ben Parker on guitar and vocals, and Robert Thornhill on mandolin and vocals.
Hank and Pattie are recording a new album of original material out Spring 2016 on Robust Records.
Hank and Pattie take a bold new direction to the traditional music world with their take on the form. Hank sums it up perfectly in a September article in Bluegrass Today: “It will be a one stop shop for all of the musical influences we’ve ever had.”