Hank Smith Hank Smith Gabriel Nelson, f/Stop Grooves Photograph

Biography

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 plays and tours with duo partner: Lindsey Tims, original band: Morning After Music, and the world's first and only tribute to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Blu-Bop. Hank continues to train an army of banjo students and will soon unleash them upon the world...when no one expects it.