Guitarist Smith will be fingerpicking good

(T. Gugler Photography)

Guitar virtuoso Richard Smith is a member of celebrated troupe the Transatlantic Guitar Trio, but he’s also an accomplished solo musician and it’s in that latter role that he’ll be performing at Boulevard Music this weekend. Smith spoke to the News about what we can expect…

When did you start playing and performing? 

I’m mostly a solo performer, which is what I’ll be doing at Boulevard Music on 20th! This group, the Transatlantic Guitar Trio that I just this afternoon finished our spring tour with, formed around 2019 after Joscho asked me if I’d put a little tour together for us that spring. He suggested we might get a bass player, but I said, maybe we might forgo the low end and get Rory Hoffman. It’s such a fun band and project.

Describe your sound/style?

I’m mostly a fingerpicker who grew up playing in the styles of Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Merle Travis, but you’ll hear some classical and pop repertoire, standards, Ragtime to the Beatles, Bach, and even Sousa so it’s mostly a varied set stylistically. 

What are your career highlights so far?

Playing with Chet Atkins was an early experience and I’ll always remember it as a highlight. Playing the Chet Atkins convention is always fun. Winning the Golden AFG thumbpick award, and Kentucky Thumpicker of the year award, winning the National Fingerpicking Championship. Playing with a lot of my favorite musicians like Chet, Tommy Emmanuel, these guys in the band, Rory Hoffman and Joscho Stephan, Jim Nichols and getting to play with some of my favorite Nashville musicians such as Stuart Duncan, Brent Mason, Sam Bush, Pat Bergrson and so many more. Nashville is such a hotbed of great players. A great jam is honestly always a highlight.

What recorded music is available — particularly the most recent?

I have three solo records out, two with my cellist wife, Julie Adams, an EP with Tommy Emmanuel, duet with my fiddler buddy Aaron Till,  a duet with Jim Nichols, four records with my brothers from our old days as the trio, and lately two records with the Transatlantic Trio. Most recently one that is hot off the press two weeks ago called “Swing Invention” which is varied stylistically. It just came out. 

Have you performed at Boulevard Music before?
Oh yes. Many times over the years. I did the live album with Jim Nichols maybe 22 years ago? He’s one of my very favorite players. So tasty with his lines. I’ve played there mostly solo, but also with the Transatlantic trio, with my wife Julie and with Pat Bergeson and with Annie and  the Hot Club. The Hot Club of Nashville is another side project that’s so much fun to do. Boulevard is a great venue. Good sound and a true listening room for the dedicated music fan.

What can the audience expect from the set this time?

Some standards, Jerry Reed tunes, Beatles, maybe fiddle tunes, Joplin rags, classical repertoire and such. I might even sing a little. It’s always a fun show and a really appreciative crowd. I always try to keep the show varied. 

What else do you have coming up?

I’m up and down the west coast all the way from San Diego up to Seattle and back down to the Bay Area and finish this first leg in Sedona and Tucson. Then i’m ten days at home in Nashville before I fly back to Phoenix and finish the tour in El Paso, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and over to Texas in Waco, Georgetown, Cleburne and Dallas. Then I’m home for two days before I’m out touring with Tommy Emmanuel in NC, VA and the southern states for eight dates. Then it’s Colorado, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and over to the northeast before heading to Europe in the fall. I need to get my website updated! The touring is never ending.

Richard Smith performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 at Boulevard Music. Go to for more information about the show, or for more about the artist.

Elsewhere this week

The Culver Hotel will be hosting the likes of Sylvia & the Rhythm Boys, and Scotty Bramer. Go to for more info.

There’s a full program of music at the Cinema Bar this week, as usual. The Hot Club of Los Angeles plays every Monday, and Wednesdays are singer/songwriter and open mic night. Other artists performing this week include Mike Rhodes & the Hard Eight, Groovy Rednecks, Erik Garcia, Stetson Wolf, and the Healers. Go to for more info.