On the heels of a successful 2021 that saw her critically-acclaimed album Renaissance top nearly every chart across multiple genres, Grammy-nominated, American roots artist Valerie Smith has revealed that she has much more in store for her 18th studio album. According to the Bluegrass veteran, she will release a new single and video from the record in February and has plans for performances later this year.
Renaissance, which was five years in the making, found unprecedented success on the following charts:
- #2 on the Folk Alliance International Folk charts, with FOUR songs landing in the Top 20;
- #2 Artist on the Folk Alliance International Folk charts the month of release;
- #22 on the Roots Music Report Contemporary Bluegrass Album chart;
- “Heart Of Sorrow” debuting at #12 on the RMR Contemporary Bluegrass singles chart;
- “Heartbreak Hill” hitting #15 on the Bluegrass Today Grassicana singles chart;
- “Enter In” debuting at #8 on the Bluegrass Today Gospel singles chart;
- “I Found” (Renaissance’s advance single) debuted at #5 on the Roots Music Report chart and #7 on the Bluegrass Today Grassicana chart.
The album not only resonated with fans but with the media as well with rave reviews coming in from such esteemed outlets as Bluegrass Today (Bluegrass Today Renaissance Review) who wrote “Emotionally speaking, you won’t be able to stay in one place too long as you’re listening” and rambles.net, whose writer Jerome Clark named it “One Of The Best Albums Of 2021” and wrote “Smith, it appears, is fashioning a mature style of what might be called post-bluegrass” (Renaissance rambles.net review).
This momentum is exactly what Smith plans to harness in 2022. In addition to the initial new releases, she says she’s ready to give her fans more access to her and her music.
“The past year has been a blessing for me and for the album,” said Smith. “It truly was a labor of love and is my most deeply personal record to-date. So, to see listeners and the media respond in such a positive way is truly invigorating. I can’t wait to release more video content and perform live – whether it’s in-person or virtually!”
Originally released on September 3, 2021, Renaissance 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.
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.
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:
The Renaissance album can be purchased as a hard copy or download here:
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