Hank Smith
Gabriel Nelson Photography

Hank Smith

Growing up in rural Florence, SC -- where summer heat indices top 120 degrees -- a teenaged Hank Smith could only find respite by locking himself up in his room and playing banjo for hours and hours. Here he readily consumed and thrived on a diet of banjo music from a variety of sources. Making its home in a nearby state park, the Southeastern Bluegrass Assoc. would meet the first Saturday of every month for a jam and concert. Hank attended these local meetings and by hiding in the back of jam groups, watching fingers, and listening for changes, he figured out how to operate the instrument that was to be his lifeblood. After a year and a half, Hank went to college at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC where, finding no one with whom to play bluegrass, he instead discovered a diverse community of musicians with a far reaching body of influence and absorbed all manner of rock, jazz, reggae, folk, blues, classical and anything in between. In that time, he earned a BA and eventually an MA in Middle Eastern History. Hank teaches at Raleigh Music Academy where he offers lessons on banjo, mandolin and guitar. He published his first novel, "Leaving Auburndale" late last year and plans to follow it up with a sequel. The book is centered around a bluegrass band on tour in central Florida, where all sorts of bizarre hijinks happen. Hank plays full time in this progressive bluegrass band, Hank, Pattie & The Current, releasing our debut album this spring 2016 on Robust Records.