Steven L. Smith, shown here at his Pottersville home, shot a video with his band in Bakers Mills recently, focused on his favorite performance venue, J&J’s.
Photo by John Grybos.
continued That sense of independence has returned to his life with authority in the last few years. He worked construction until his sister was diagnosed with cancer. She died two years ago at Halloween. The loss of such a close family member changed Smith's outlook.
“Maybe what was a hobby should be moved into the foreground,” he said.
Those thoughts inspired him to start pursuing what he loves, making music on stage and in his acoustic guitar workshop.
His band has appeared in early Grammy ballots for categories, including best country vocal, best country album and best country song. Nominated this year was “Can’t Take It With You,” recorded with Nashville performer Crystal Gayle, well known for “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
The guitars he makes in his home workshop are premium products with a premium price. Sometimes his guitar shop is a bigger money-maker than his band, but a rough economy has put a pinch on luxury goods, he said. He’s made some guitars with Adirondack spruce tops, a material first popularized by C.J. Martin’s early guitars, which are now high-demand collectibles. He had to order his tops from California because local sawmills don't process the wood finely enough for instrument-building.
As a local, though, he’s been able to reclaim some wood from his back yard for flourishes on his custom guitars, including a carefully carved flower for a headstock.
He’d like to thank all those involved with his video and encourage viewers to share links to it from his website, www.stevenlsmithband.com, or Youtube channel, StevenLSmithBand.