Bar River (35min east of Sault Ste. Marie), a very small working-class community in Northern Ontario, Canada, is the place that provided the young guitarist with his deep roots in Country and Bluegrass music. Initially, at seven years old, he had wanted to the play 5-string banjo, but when told by a local teacher he was too small to play it, he tried his hand at the guitar. His bond with the instrument was immediate. By the age of twelve, he burst onto the local scene performing at various community events. He became a member of the musician's union at the tender age of twelve, and by fourteen, was on the road, gaining a valuable experience, playing bars and weddings around Northern Ontario. Lately Adam has been quickly making a name for himself amongst the famous and has recently been hired to perform with REGIS PHILBIN.
Like many kids with a passion to play, Adam's attention quickly turned to guitar-driven rock, adding this genre to his record collection. A need to grow and expand musically was paramount. It was at this time that a personal quest was cemented and impassioned seeds were planted and allowed to flourish over time; logically so, this organic blend of musical genres was given fertile ground to grow its own solid, dynamic, ever-probing roots.
After eight years of performing, Adam's talent and creative drive had exceeded the limitations of small-town exposure. He made the move to Toronto, enrolling in the excellent music program at Humber College. Humber introduced Adam to the music of the jazz greats, exposure to other types music, and recognizing his roots in country, Adam was making a natural progression to his own brand of Jazz. However, it was not until years later, after graduating, that Adam found another monumental influence, a guitar master who also touted Chet Atkins a mentor as a young "picker"-- none other than Lenny Breau.
Breau's guitar work inspired Smale to take yet another new direction in Jazz Guitar playing. After serious contemplation, Adam discarded his flatpick to wield a thumpick once again--a return to his youth. "It seems strange; I’m kind of steppin’ back and moving forward at the same time. But, I can coax more nuances from the guitar with a fingerstyle technique." Adam asserts. "Lenny's thing was to sound more like a piano player. You're playing chords for yourself while you play melodies or solo." This challenging technique, demonstrates Adam's constant endeavour for improvement with a fearless approach to musical growth and discovery. This expansion in Adam’s musical evolution, in fact, also caused him to expand his guitar. Literally! He designed a seven-string guitar and had a local luthier build it for him. Adam clarifies, "With six strings, I felt a little boxed in. I now have more flexibility with the extra string."
Adam's debut CD, Fun City, reached No.9 in the Canadian National Jazz Chart in September 2000. More recently, the Adam Smale Quartet placed 2nd in the renowned Grand Prix de Jazz contest, during the 2002 Montreal Jazz Festival.
Adam has performed in South America, India, and the Middle East, as well as performing in the Toronto area. One side-project, is experimental band Camarillo; it is a melting pot of genres, including World Music, Electronic, with strong free-improv elements. Adam conducts classes and seminars in Canada & the USA, for Guitar Workshop Plus, the National Guitar Workshop, as well as juggling select private students in the Toronto area.