Critically-Acclaimed, Grammy-Nominated, American Roots Artist Valerie Smith has announced that her 18th album Renaissance has debuted at #2 on the Folk Alliance International Folk Chart for the month of September, with FOUR songs landing in the Top 20. Smith was also named the #2 Artist for September. Additionally, the album was successful on the Roots Music Report charts, and the Bluegrass Today Grassicana and Gospel charts in early October.
Five years in the making, Renaissance was released on September 3 and explores Smith’s personal growth and her journey through learning, forgiving and finding love within herself and others. The songs cover subject areas including love, regret, finding love, acceptance, and redemption. She’s also included some upbeat, happy songs that encourage the listener to “move to the groove,” as she says, and some lush ballads with meaningful lyrics and melodies that touch the soul.
The album has not only resonated with fans but with the media as well with Alan Cackett, Music Review and Blogger, saying “Valerie Smith’s music doesn’t preen or shout; instead, it beckons listeners to come closer and simply enjoy the listening experience.”
Crossing multiple musical genres, Renaissance still stays true to Smith’s signature sound by encompassing an acoustic flair with a touch of bluegrass – all performed with exceptional musicianship. Produced by Smith and Tim Carter, it features two original tracks “I’m Fine Bein’ Me,” which hit #20, and “A Dollar Looked Mighty Good,” (co-written with Ashley Lewis) which hit #12, as well as 12 carefully-chosen cover songs by seasoned songwriters including Claire Lynch, Irene Kelley, Jude Johnstone and Daniel Crabtree.
The album was meticulously-crafted and features an all-star lineup of musicians including Smith’s long-time band Liberty Pike (Lisa Kay Howard Hughes, Wally Hughes, Tom Gray and Joe Zauner) and special guests Stephen Burrell, Tim Carter, Tanya Dennis, Rob Ickes, Cody Kilby, Andy Leftwich,Tim Lorsch, Kevin McKendree, Bob Minner, Dave Roe, Jerry Salley, Sammy Shelor, Donna Ulisse, and Evan Winsor. A stirring number featuring Gospel greats The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Alfreda and Regina) rounds out the record’s sound.
To celebrate her success, Smith will be releasing her next featured single “A Dollar Looked Mighty Good” with a video following late this fall.
In addition to album’s success on the FAI Folk DJ Chart, Renaissance hit #22 on the Roots Music Report Contemporary Bluegrass Album chart, week of October 2, 2021, and tracks from the album were also charting well. “Heart Of Sorrow” debuted at #12 on the RMR Contemporary Bluegrass singles chart week of October 2, 2021, “Heartbreak Hill” hit #15 on the Bluegrass Today Grassicana singles chart week of October 2 and October 8, 2021, and “Enter In” debuted at #8 on the Bluegrass Today Gospel singles chart week of October 8, 2021. It’s advance single “I Found” debuted at #5 on the Roots Music Report chart, #7 on the Bluegrass Today Grassicana Chart, and #8 on the FAI Folk DJ Chart in June 2021, and Renaissance was the most downloaded album on Airplay Direct in August.
Smith has also written and recorded Maggie’s Journal, a bluegrass-folk opera based on her great-grandmother’s diary (release to be announced). She also tours regularly and continues to create music released by her company Bell Buckle Records. Bell Buckle Records, Media, and Radio houses a variety of talented artists, radio shows, and creates video productions.
About Valerie Smith
Originally from Missouri and now based in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, Valerie Smith is an American Roots artist and songwriter with a unique style and sound, who has rocked the bluegrass world for almost two decades with a string of national and international tours, critically-acclaimed recordings, Grammy, IBMA, and Dove Award nominations. When one listens to Smith’s unique and expressive voice, one can hear influences from bluegrass, blues, gospel music, and even Broadway show tunes. Her range is expansive and she conveys a fantastic array of emotions. Smith has been touring and recording with her band Liberty Pike for 22 years (seven with the current configuration) and she has 18 albums to her credit. She has appeared on various television shows, including “Ronnie Reno’s,” the “Bluegrass Underground,” “Song of the Mountains,” PBS, and more.
Smith’s hit single, “Red Clay Halo,” (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) climbed the Bluegrass Unlimited, Country Music, and Americana reporting charts, receiving heavy radio airplay for five years. BU included the song in their list of the top 60 songs of the decade. Renaissance is the follow-up to her successful 2020 hit single “From A Distance” (Julie Gold), featuring Claire Lynch and Irene Kelly, which hit #1 in July of 2020 and spent an entire year on the Bluegrass Today Grassicana Chart as well as hitting # 2 for two months on the Folk Alliance International Folk DJ Chart.
To hear songs from Valerie Smith’s Renaissance, visit:
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