Having a Coffee with ……………. Amanda Smith

This is the seventh in a fun new series in which we ask bluegrass music personalities, some famous, some not so well known, about some of their interests as well as about the music that they love. Amanda Smith started singing in church around the age of eight or nine. Then in junior high she started getting into some talent contests. She also sang at events like ice cream socials, fairs, and town festivals. She and her husband, Kenny, started the Kenny & Amanda Smith Band in 2001.

What would you like to drink?

I would like to have a Starbuck’s House Blend coffee from my Bosch Benvenuto B20 coffee and espresso machine. Kenny surprised me with the coffee machine for our 15-year anniversary. I love it!

Do you want anything to eat as well?

Sure. I will take two egg veggie omelet with extra spinach.

What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food. Love It!

And what would you have to drink with that?

Diet coke with a fresh lime.

What’s the nicest meal that you have ever had?

Rob Newsom, a friend of ours, took us to the Pike’s Place open air market in Seattle, Washington, one time. He got fresh salmon, shrimp, salad, and homemade bread. We took it back to his cabin in Icicle Canyon and he cooked the salmon and shrimp on a open fire in the fireplace. It was amazing!

Let’s talk bluegrass…..

Where/when did you first hear bluegrass music?

I had been singing country and gospel music for years. When I was in high school, I was driving home one day and heard New Fool by Alison Krauss come on the country station. It was so good. I called the station and asked them who it was and went to the CD store in the mall the next day and bought the CD. After that, I started buying a lot of bluegrass CDs and going to festivals. Larry Sparks and Rhonda Vincent was at the very first festival I ever went to which was awesome.

Which of your own songs do you have a particular liking for?

Well, I really haven’t written much. It’s just really difficult for me to get my thoughts to paper….

What about a song written by someone else?

I really like Catch Me If I Try off of our new CD. It’s such a sweet love song.

Catch Me If I Try - Kenny & Amanda SmithWhich particular album do you like best and why?

My favorite CD that we have done is our latest one, Catch Me If I Try. I feel like the material, the players, and the recording quality was the perfect combination for our best CD to date.

What’s your favorite bluegrass project of all time and why?

Everytime You Say Goodbye is the first bluegrass CD I ever heard and owned….. it’s extra special to me.

You play a guitar …

I play a Collings D1A Sunburst and really like it.

What’s your favorite instrument?

My favorite instrument is the fiddle. Seems like there is a lot of similarities with the fiddle and singing. I’m drawn to it.

Kenny & Amanda SmithWhat’s your favorite bluegrass memory?

Number one favorite bluegrass memory would have to be when I met Kenny. I wasn’t expecting or looking to meet anyone that night. My parents and I went to see Lonesome River Band and IIIrd Tyme Out at the Milton Opry House in Milton, West Virginia. I hadn’t seen Lonesome River Band in a couple of years ,and I had no idea that Tim Austin wasn’t in the band anymore. So it was a surprise when Kenny walked out on stage that night. I couldn’t wait to meet him after the show, and luckily I did.

Second favorite memory is getting to meet Alison Krauss.

How do you keep fit and healthy when you spend so much time on the road?

Through the week when I’m home I do Wii Zumba, kickboxing, and Kenny and I jog. We also try to eat healthy when we are home. I’m not as strict when we are out on the road but still try not to overdo it with bad choices on eating.

Are you a sports fan? Who do you follow?

Yes, I love NFL. I, of course, like the Titans… go Nashville!

What hobbies do you have?

I enjoy reading, shopping for clothes and makeup and I love to exercise. Lately I’m addicted to Zumba and the Wii dance party.

What is the last movie film that you watched?

I haven’t watched a movie in a long time.

What is your favorite film and why?

My all-time favorite movie is Grease. My sister and I have every word memorized to the whole movie.

Do you get much time to watch TV?

Yeah we usually watch shows in the evenings that we have taped on our DVR when we are out on the road.

My favorite show is The Young and The Restless. My mom has watched it for a long time and we call each other and talk about stuff on the show. It’s fun….

What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in bluegrass music?

I would probably be working at a Chanel or Armani make up counter, or I would be at an express lane in a grocery store somewhere working, because I’m infatuated with cash registers.

In 2001 Amanda and Kenny started the Kenny & Amanda Smith Band. They have recorded eight albums since they started and were winners of IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2003. They have been nominated for a Grammy® award, the IBMA’s Gospel Recorded Event of the Year award and a Dove award.

The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band have opened shows for Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Ricky Skaggs in the past and played the Grand Ole Opry twice.

Currently their new CD Catch Me If I Try has had several singles on the charts.

Amanda and Kenny Smith live in Lebanon, Tennessee, just over 30 miles from Nashville.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.