Barrett Smith to Steep Canyon Rangers

Just over a month after announcing the departure of founding member and bass player Charles Humphrey III, The Steep Canyon Rangers have a new bass man in hand. And they didn’t have to look far to find him.

Barrett Smith is a part of the same social and musical scene that started when the Rangers were students together at the University of North Carolina in the late 1990s. They had remained friends all this time, with Barrett performing regularly as a duo with Shannon Whitworth, Americana singer and songwriter who is married to Rangers’ guitarist, Woody Platt.

In college, the guys who became the Steep Canyon Rangers lured Barrett from his classical music studies into the world of bluegrass and acoustic music, and that musical mix is apparent on his first recording project, Solo Guitar, released in 2004.

Smith has his bluegrass street cred as well, playing bass for a time with Town Mountain after college, and serving as first call sub for Charles with the Steeps since their founding. So he was a natural to consider for the bass spot, but the guys didn’t know if he would be willing to commit to their busy touring schedule. But they asked, and he said yes, and now the deal is done.

Rangers banjo player Graham Sharp says that he’s a perfect fit.

“Barrett Smith has been a friend of ours since the very first days of SCR and someone whose playing we’ve admired for just as long. When Barrett expressed a desire to join the group we looked no further. We’ve played a handful of great shows together so far and feel like it’s just scratching the surface with him. He is as kind a human as you will find and an equally fine musician!”

Keep an eye on the Steep Canyon Rangers web site for tour information.

Their next album, Out In The Open, is due January 26 with pre-orders enabled now online.

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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.