Thursday, August 11, 2011 ● 5-7 pm (edt)
Aer Stephen welcomes Steve Michael Smith to Folk & Beyond for the first time. “After seeing Steve play solo acoustic at a small festival called Azurat, I wanted to have him play on the show”. Steve’s music experience began in the Shenandoah Valley growing up in Staunton, Virginia. He played guitar in the Stage Band at Robert E. Lee High School and later in the Jazz Band at James Madison University, where he also sang in Jazz Vocal Choir. Upon graduation, Steve began playing music on the road, working with such notables as Charles Neville of The Neville Brothers, Ike Willis from Frank Zappa’s band and Graham Lear of The Santana Band. Steve did studio work as a vocalist at Bill Scream Studio in Portland Oregon with John Smith of Nu Shus and as a guitarist at Big Red Studio with Billy Oskay of Night Noise. He also did quite an extensive amount of work as an actor, the most notable part he had was Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors at the Portland Repertory. Steve performs as a solo guitarist (jazz and flamenco), performs straight ahead jazz in The Funky Urban Southern Ensemble - F.U.S.E. - and with Funk45. Steve will be performing solo on Folk & Beyond.
In F.U.S.E., three distinct musical streams collide - the R&B/jazz vocals and compositions of the virtuoso guitarist Steve Michael Smith; the fluid percussion of Reggae master Darrell Rose; and JimWray on keys and t-bone. F.U.S.E. creates music that is joyful and will lift you out of your seat. The nucleus of Steve Michael Smith and Jim Wray came together almost by accident as performers at the Azurat Festival in Montebello, VA, July 4, 2009. Jim was on the bill with his partner in the ensemble 2x88, Hod O'Brien, a two jazz piano styling. But Hod had to cancel and at the last minute Jim contacted through a 3rd party a musician he thought he had played with a year prior. Confident of the quality and chemistry with this other, Jim brought Steve Michael Smith on as his duo companion at Azurat. The joke was that they had actually never met before that afternoon of the concert. Nonetheless, the magic was there, and they connected. Piano, guitar, voice and trombone flowed like brothers who had been playing together since the womb. After about 6 months of cabaret work as a duo, Smith-Wray morphed into F.U.S.E. with the addition of Darrell Rose, Brian Mesko and Peter Matthews.
Submitted by Aer Stephen, WTJU Folk