Dalton Smith to Kevin Prater Band on mandolin

The Kevin Prater Band has announced the addition of Dalton Smith to the group on mandolin.

But wait, you may ask… doesn’t fearless leader Kevin Prater play mandolin with the band? Why yes… yes he does.

Dalton was brought on to replace banjoist Jake Burrows, who left the band in November. During his first show with Kevin at the Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival in Brookeville, FL, Prater swapped instruments with Smith, as he generally does for a song in all their live sets, and the crowd was especially appreciative. The moment showed Kevin what a terrific mandolinist Dalton was, just as he was realizing how good it felt to be playing banjo again.

So the die is cast.

Prater says that it’s a perfect fit, both musically and with respect to band business.

“In addition to his unlimited musical talents, Dalton is an incredible vocalist, and a great team player. Dalton takes pride in his work, in helping to promote the band’s shows. He also brings a huge support group of family and friends from the Hinton, V area. The community is hosting a show for The Kevin Prater Band at the Summers County Memorial Theater in Hinton, WV on Friday, May 17, 2024.”

Dalton Smith was raised near the town of Alderson in West Virginia. He remembers bluegrass music being part of his life from the earliest possible age, and he started playing guitar at eight years old. The music of Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, and Jimmy Martin were his primary inspirations, and he began performing as soon as he could find people to play with.

In high school he was part of a band of school friends called Chosen Generation who worked shows around home, and even had the opportunity to open for Ralph Stanley and Bobby Osborne. From there he spent time with the Valley Bluegrass Band and The Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys, and then joined Dewey & Leslie Brown until COVID restrictions put an end to all performing. Then in 2022 he went to work as a musician at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud in Pigeon Forge.

Smith says that this is why he has always wanted to do.

“Being on the road playing the music I love, full time, has been my biggest dream. I’m very proud to be joining up with The Kevin Prater Band, and very excited for the experience and what the future holds.”

Here’s a recent video of Dalton with his new bandmates, Kevin Prater on banjo and lead vocal, Mallory Hindman on fiddle, Lennie Centers on guitar, and Bailey Moore on bass.

Kevin tells us that they are really excited for this year, with more than 60 shows on the books, and a new single coming soon on Turnberry Records.

You can keep up with the comings and goings of the Kevin Prater Band 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.