A Golden Smile from Randy Steele

Chattanooga fire fighter, banjo picker, and songwriter Randy Steele has a new single for July, a set of personal reflections called A Golden Smile.

This popular entertainer in south central Tennessee took up the banjo some years ago to give him something productive to do with the many idle hours in the fire station. Since becoming quite adept on his instrument, Randy has becoming a convincing songwriter and singer as well, and performs with a bluegrass group called High Cold Wind.

A Golden Smile was written to explore his own self doubt and uncertainty at the time he first started dating his wife, more than 20 years ago. The song has placed in the finals for the 2023 Kerrville Folk Festival’s Grassy Hill New Folk Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the American Songwriter’s Song of the year competition last year.

Steele performs it solo with only a banjo and a click, which he explains has special memories for him.

“The click is an old Seth Thomas metronome that is sitting in front of a microphone. This very metronome sat on my Mom’s piano for decades, and she recently gave it to me. It’s one of those crank up styles that will hold time for a bit but eventually slows then just dies. It does have a more aesthetically pleasing acoustic sound than most of the modern day metronomes. I’ve played banjo and guitar scales with that old thing for so long now that the song feels like a duet with an old friend.”

This live video was filmed at The Woodshed Listening Room in Chattanooga, with Randy performing his latest single just as he recorded it.

A Golden Smile is available now from popular download and streaming services online. It will also be included on High Cold Wind’s EP release later this year.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.