Kenny & Amanda in the studio

The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band have spent much of the past two weeks recording at Gat3 studio in North Carolina, completing a new album which will be released soon on the Gat3 label.

They tracked 14 new songs with the latest iteration of the band, with special guest Ron Stewart on banjo. Once again, multiple Grammy award-winning engineer Glenn Tabor was at the controls.

Kenny and Amanda handle the vocals, with Kenny’s powerhouse guitar front and center. New members Cory Piatt is on mandolin and Austin Ward on bass. Cory’s brother Owen had been performing with the band on banjo, but just before they headed into the studio, he took a full-time job that prevented him from touring any longer with the Smiths.

I haven’t been able to hear any of the music yet, but did get some comments from the band.

Kenny shared a few thoughts on his way to the studio last week.

“As we make our way to Charlotte, NC to Gat3 studios for our sixth project, I’m excited beyond measure. I’m curious how our engineer, Glenn Tabor, will out do himself this time? He always reinvents himself by trying different methods, breaking rules in a minimalist approach to one of the most complex sounding music forms.

I’m really stoked about the players in our band right now; Austin and Cory get it. They play beyond their age and bring something new to the table. That new thing is they simply like playing as much as I do.

Its great to see a song that was crafted at my kitchen table along with Jon Weisberger come to life with emotion from Amanda’s vocals. I can’t explain what it’s like when you hear that for the first time. It’s really overwhelming at times.

I feel every detail, and all the pieces, came together at the right exact moment for this project. I’m very blessed to have such great songs from some the best writers out there. It’s truly a collection of 5 years of the best material that has come our way, by the way of talented writers that like our sound and believe in us. Great lyrics, eager musicians, one of a kind engineer and studio, all mixed in with Amanda’s emotional vocal equals my favorite band CD to date.”

Amanda is likewise psyched about the new project.

“I couldn’t wait to get into the studio for this album. These songs are some of my favorites that I have ever heard coming through the headphones to sing to.

The musicians on this album are so incredible, I feel humbled and honored to be on the same project as them. They made every track so easy to sing to. Glenn Tabor at Gat3 Productions made everything sound amazing. Kenny, Glenn, Austin, Cory and Ron’s talent is inspiring and makes me want to sing.”

Newbies Cory and Austin chimed in as well.

“It was a real honor for me to perform on this upcoming project with Kenny and Amanda, especially since I personally have been such a big fan of their music in the past. I truly feel that the bluegrass audience is going to love the combination of tunes and overall feeling of this new project! Its really something special!”

Cory Piatt

“I am so honored to be able to record with such talented and humble musicians. The combined groove of Kenny, Cory, and Ron makes my job easy. Amanda sings every song so beautifully you’d have to be without a soul to not be inspired. It was a blessed experience.”

Austin Ward

One constant that has run through the band’s five previous albums is high quality material. Whether written by Kenny and Amanda or collected from top bluegrass/acoustic writers, all of their records represent the best that our music has to offer. And that trend continues here, with new songs from John Pennell, Connie Harrington, Bryan Simpson Tim Stafford, Bobby Starnes, Sally Barris and Jon Weisberger.

Can’t wait to hear this one, which Gat3 expects to release by late Summer/early Fall.

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.