Multi_instrumentiste Country né le 10 Mai 1897 à Smyth County (Virginie). Hobart Smith est décédé le 11 Janvier 1965 à Saltville (Virginie).

One of the most sadly overlooked masters of Appalachian folk music, Hobart Smith may not be widely known outside of those who happened to either see him at a '60s folk festival or the nascent folkies who were directly influenced by his driving, energetic banjo and guitar styles, but he arguably remains one of the most virtuosic performers his genre and era produced. Known as a quiet man, he clearly enjoyed the spotlight, transforming into a foot-stomping showman with rousing tunes and carefully embellished tales that identified him as the genuine article for a generation of musicians obsessed with such a cultural pedigree. A precise player of his own intricate arrangements of traditional old-timey tunes, Smith was an amazingly eclectic artist. Whether turning out deeply soulful country-blues on guitar, channeling Earl Scruggs-like energy on complexly nuanced banjo tunes, diving into hauntingly rhythmic fiddle tunes, or lightening the mood with jaunty piano tunes, his music is always stamped with an ear for fluid melody and hypnotic rhythms.
Born in 1897 in Saltville, VA, Smith was immersed in the authentic Appalachian musical culture, sharing a musical tradition seven generations old by the time he arrived. As such, Smith's father had him playing the banjo by the age of seven, the guitar by the age of 14, and the fiddle, mandolin, piano, and organ within a few years. By 1915, he was gaining employment on the minstrel show circuit and had started his own string band to play at a variety of social functions from auctions to prison camps. At an indeterminate point, the influence of the blues crept into Smith's musical vernacular, coloring his rendering of traditional tunes forever thereafter. By the time he befriended Clarence Ashley in 1918 (whom he greatly respected as a musician and was probably influenced by on some level), he was nearly earning a living as a musician, although he would still have to find employment as a farmer, wagoner, house painter, and butcher. By 1936, Smith had begun to play the day's commercial popular music and had gained such regional renown that he and his sister, Texas Gladden, were invited to play before Eleanor Roosevelt at the prestigious White Top Festival in Southwest Virginia, making such an impression on the first lady that the two would be invited to perform at the White House.
In 1942, Smith recorded 40 tracks for Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress, resulting in a set of English ballads; banjo, fiddle, and guitar pieces; and Virginia murder ballads, not to mention a relationship with Lomax that would prove beneficial in the coming years. Eventually, Lomax would introduce him to Moses Asch, resulting in the recording of a soon out of print album for Asch's pre-Folkways disc label. Even so, the album went on to become quite influential on the burgeoning folk revival scene in New York City and Smith was convinced to focus solely on his traditional repertoire. As the years wore on, Lomax continued to record Smith, introduce him to folk festivals, and conduct extensive interviews to present the depth of his musical legacy. As artists such as the New Lost City Ramblers' Tom Paley, John Cohen, and Mike Seeger, as well as Jody Stecher, Hank Bradley, and Fleming Brown took in his performances during the folk festival boom of the 1960s, Smith was finally embraced as the musical genius he was and would again enter the recording studio for Folk Legacy that fully indulged his love of odd and obscure traditional tunes. Still, by the time Smith seemed on the verge of capitalizing on his unique talents, his health began to fail him. In 1965, his status as a true giant of traditional music growing with each performance, he passed away without fully benefiting from his prodigious talents. Although his legacy has been carried on by those his music touched in his lifetime, renewed interest in Hobart Smith's music resulted in the excellent Blue Ridge Legacy release in 2001. 

Talents : Banjo, Guitar, Fiddle, Piano

Style musical : Old-Time




Years in activity :

1910 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 2000 10 20


78 t.

194? 78 t. DISC 1814/1815 (US)

The Devil And The Farmer / Sourwood Mountain - Lonesome Road Blues


1964 LP 12" FOLK-LEGACY FSA 17 (US)

Hobart Smith Of Saltville, Virginia - Soldier's Joy (Banjo) / Peg And Awl / The Great Titanic / Banjo Group 1 : Black Annie, Sally Ann, Chinquapin Pie, Last Chance, John Greer's Tune / Short Life In Trouble / The Devil And The Farmer's Wife / Soldier's Joy (Fiddle) / Sitting On The Top Of The World / Stormy Rose The Ocean / Bonapartes's Retreat / Cuckoo Bird / Columbus Stockade / Banjo Group II : Cindy, The Girl I Left Behind, John Hardy / Meet Me In Rose Time, Rosie / Uncloudy Day

1969 LP 12" TOPIC 12T187 (UK) THE OLD-TIMEY RAP - A Collection Of American Songs & Instrumentals - Soldier's Joy (Banjo) / Peg And Awl / The Great Titanic / Banjo Group I : Black Annie - Sally Ann - Chinquapin Pie - Last Chance - John Greer’s Tune / Short Life In Trouble / The Devil And The Farmer's Wife / Soldier's Joy / Sitting On Top Of The World / Stormy Rose The Ocean / Bonaparte's Retreat / Cuckoo Bird / Columbus Stockade Blues / Banjo Group II : Cindy - The Girl I Left Behind Me - John Hardy / Meet Me In Rose Time, Rosie / Uncloudy Day
06/2001 CD ROUNDER  11661-1799-2 (US) BLUE RIDGE LEGACY - THE ALAN LOMAX PORTRAIT SERIES - The Devil's Dream / Drunken Hiccups / The Cuckoo Bird / Banging Breakdown / Arkansas Traveler / Railroad Bill / Claude Allen / Hangman Swing Your Rope / Wayfaring Stranger / Sourwood Mountain / Going Down The Road Feeling Bad / Pateroller / Chinquipin Pie / Last Chance / Jim Along / Two Brothers (The Little Schoolboy) / Ellen Smith / Graveyard Blues / K.C. Blues / Unidentified Tune On Electric Guitar / Cindy / At An Old-Timey Dance [interview] / Cindy / The Thrill Of Dance Music [interview] / What Did The Buzzard Say To The Crow? / Buck Dance / Old Joe Clark / Dixie / Sourwood Mountain / Hawkins County Jail / Rocky Mountain
08/2005 CD SMITHSONIAN / FOLKWAYS CD40141 (US) IN SACRED TRUST - THE 1963 FLEMING BROWN TAPES - Heaven's Airplane / Banging Breakdown / Buck Creek Girls / Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss / Brown Skin Blues / John Brown's Dream / Cuckoo Bird / Cripple Creek / John Greer's Two-Step / Wabash Blues / Jim And Me / Old Joe Clark / John Henry / Give Me Your Heart / What Did The Buzzard Say To The Crow / Soldier's Joy / Uncloudy Day / I Feel So Good / Cumberland Gap / Jim Along / Soldier's Joy / Railroad Bill / Railroad Bill / Old Joe Clark / Wayfaring Stranger / Chatham Hill Serenade / I'll Meet You When The Sun Goes Down / Indian March / Walking Boss / Woman At The Well / Clog Dance With Guitar / Black Annie / Wildwood Flower / Full Of Music As I Could Be / Katie Went A-Fishin' With A Hook And Line / K.C. Moan
08/2010 CD FOLK-LEGACY 60017 (US) HOBART SMITH AT SALTVILLE, VIRGINIA - TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN SONGS AND TUNES - Black Annie / Bonaparte's Retreat / Chinaquapin Pie / Cindy / Columbus Stockade Blues / Cuckoo Bird / The Devil And The Farmer's Wife / The Girl I Left Behind Me / The Great Titanic / John Greer's Tune / John Hardy / Last Chance / Meet Me In Rose Time, Rosie / Peg And Awl / Sally Ann / Short Life In Trouble / Sitting On Top Of The World / Soldier's Joy / Soldier's Joy / Stormy Rose The Ocean / Uncloudy Day

© Rocky Productions 19/09/2018