Richard Smith (English guitarist)

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Richard Smith
Richard Smith Rietberg 2006.jpg
Richard Smith performing in Germany in 2006
Background information
Born (1971-12-12) 12 December 1971 (age 47)
Beckenham, England
OriginNashville, Tennessee
GenresCountry, bluegrass, gypsy jazz, western swing, Classical, folk

Richard Smith (born 12 December 1971) is an English guitaris specialising in the fingerstyle guitar tradition of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed. He is the 2001 National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion.


Smith was born in Beckenham, England. He picked up the guitar when he was five years old after watching his father playing an Atkins and Travis version of Down South Blues. He begged his father, a longtime Atkins admirer, to introduce him to the fingerpicking style. Smith soon became a child prodigy on the guitar. At the age of 11 he shared the stage with his idol when Atkins invited Smith to play with him at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.[1][2] He was also influenced by guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and briefly studied jazz guitar with Shane Hill at Warlingham School, Surrey.

He formed the Richard Smith Guitar Trio with his brothers Rob and Sam before marrying American cellist Julie Adams and moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 1999.[3] He founded the Hot Club of Nashville, a jam band with a varying lineup that included John Jorgenson, Pat Bergeson, Bryan Sutton, and Stuart Duncan, combining gypsy jazz and western swing. Smith performs as a solo act and a duo with his wife. His repertoire includes country, bluegrass, blues, ragtime, folk, jazz, pop, and classical music.[4]


Smith plays a signature instrument made by luthier Kirk Sand from Laguna Beach, California. The Richard Smith Model is an acoustic-electric nylon-string guitar.[5] He also endorses steel-string models by Stonebridge Guitars.[6] He prefers German-built AER amplifiers for his guitars.[7] Richard uses D'Addario strings and accessories.

Awards and honors[edit]

Smith won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas in 2001.[8] The National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame named him Thumbpicker of the Year in 2008 and inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 2009.[9] He received the Golden Thumbpick Award by the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists.[10]



  • 2002: Requests
  • 2006: Fingerstyle Artistry (Mel Bay DVD)
  • 2007: Slim Pickin'

With The Richard Smith Guitar Trio:

  • 1996: The Richard Smith Guitar Trio
  • 1997: Welcome to Smithville
  • 1998: Strike it Rich!
  • 1999: Out of Bounds

With Jim Nichols

  • 2003: Live at Boulevard Music

With Julie Adams

  • 2001: Living Out a Dream
  • 2009: Seems Like Old Times

With Aaron Till

  • 2004: Out of Nowhere

With Joscho Stephan:

  • 2007: Live in Concert (Acoustic Music Records DVD, special guest appearance)


  1. ^ "Seacoast Guitar Society presents Richard Smith, Julie Adams". Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  2. ^ "APSU presents "The Beatles to Bluegrass: An Evening of Virtuoso Guitar"". Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  3. ^ "The Julian News – Guitar Champ in Concert at Borrego Springs – March 31, 2004".
  4. ^ "The Item (Jane G. Collins) – Guitar-cello concert 'delightful, creative' – Sumter, SC – November 18, 2006".
  5. ^ Sand Guitars – Richard Smith Model, retrieved 6 July 2011
  6. ^ Stonebridge Guitars – Artists – Richard Smith, retrieved 6 July 2011
  7. ^ AER Amplifiers – Players – Richard Smith, retrieved 6 July 2011
  8. ^ "Walnut Valley Festival – 2001 Walnut Valley Championship Archives – All Winners". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  9. ^ National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame Inductees, retrieved 6 July 2011
  10. ^ "AFG Golden Pick Honor Society". Retrieved 6 July 2011.

External links[edit]