Born and raised in a small community tucked between the New River and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Daniel Justin Smith comes from the same mountain region as music icon Doc Watson. Smith also practices Watson’s musical mindset of “traditional plus” by creating music celebrating the mountain heritage of his upbringing while including elements of country, rock, soul, and funk.
As a writer, Smith draws influence from both early Appalachian pioneers, such as The Carter Family and The Stanley Brothers, as well as more recent songsmiths including John Prine and Darrell Scott. He has collaborated with such artists as Jim Lauderdale and Malcolm Holcombe, and performed at such noteworthy venues as FloydFest, House of Blues, Ziggy’s, Brooklyn Bowl, Lincoln Theatre, and Music City Roots while at the helm of his former band, BIG DADDY LOVE.
2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the pivotal album "to the mountain". To celebrate, Smith has enlisted the help of a stellar line up of musicians and they will be performing shows throughout the region.
Kelly Linville has been part of this story longer than many of the songs that will comprise much of the first set for this new ensemble. Kelly was the drummer in the early touring days of BDL and was irreplaceable in the production and recording of the tracks that became "to the mountain". These two formed the kind of musical and personal bond that lasts a lifetime. When they perform together, the audience is sure to be engaged and entertained by their creative and dynamic expression.
Georgia native, Winston Salem transplant Will Bagley rounds out the rhythm section on bass and adds harmony vocals to the mix. Seldom does someone join in so seamlessly. Rhythmically and harmonically, Bagley is a perfect fit. It was a go from the first note of the first rehearsal. Will is also a founding member of southeast favorite Marvelous Funkshun and performs in various ensembles around the triad when not on the road. He is one hard working musician.
Joining the group on electric guitar is another long term relationship for DJS. Cass Copsey was on the road as sound engineer for BDL for several years before leaving to pursue his own performance opportunities. While Cass was a great engineer, everyone knew his departure from that position was inevitable. He belongs on the stage, not behind the board. It's another connection that feels more like family than friendship. And the musicianship he brings to the table is just incredible. After leaving BDL, Cass gained regional success with his band Fat Cheek Kat. After taking some time to work on his own recordings and projects, and playing around his home town of Winston Salem with various local bands, he is now happy to be lending his talents to this group of seasoned pros. And he fits the sonic spectrum perfectly.
Smith’s organic style and progressive mind are evident in both his recorded work and live concerts. His dynamic attack on the acoustic guitar, fiery vocals, and captivating stories told through heartfelt lyrics blend effortlessly to produce gripping performances. With this impressive lineup to take the stage with him, the roots are deep and the future is bright. Stay tuned...
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