Chet Atkins: Richard Smith is a ‘better’ Atkins


As a child in England guitarist Richard Smith heard his father picking “Down South Blues” by Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. He never looked back, something people can look forward to when Smith, a member of swing combo The Hot Club of Nashville, plays at White Horse Black Mountain on Feb. 28.

Working out complex finger-style solos, Smith at the tender age of 11 was invited onstage by his hero, Atkins himself. While he’s rooted in the stylings of the Jerry Reed, Merle Travis and The Country Gentleman, Smith has expanded his repertoire to include classical pieces, Beatles tunes, Gypsy jazz, Telecaster twang, bluegrass and bebop.

Smith is married to American cellist and frequent performing partner Julie Adams. Smith, a Nashville resident since 2000, tours constantly in the U.S. and Europe as a soloist, as well as with Adams and with The Hot Club of Nashville. With 10 CDs to his credit, he also spends time in his Tunesmith Studio recording and producing other artists.

Smith has earned a strong local following as a teacher and performer at the Swannanoa Gathering, where his virtuosic eclecticism, easy humor and musicality have been a highlight of past Guitar Weeks. Chet Atkins himself said of Smith, “The most amazing guy I know on the guitar. He can play everything I know, but better.”

Britain to Nashville

Who: Richard Smith

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $15 advance, $18 door