Richard Smith was born in Beckenham, Kent, England in 1971 and started playing guitar at age 5 under the instruction of his father.
Concentrating initially on the music his father loved – the country picking of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis – young Richard digested everything he heard, learning the most complicated of tunes with ease and confounding everyone with his dexterity. Not only did he possess amazing physical skill, but a photographic musical memory as well. Often, a single hearing was all it took to get a piece under his fingers.
Richard first met his hero, the “Godfather” of fingerstyle guitar, Chet Atkins, when he was only eleven. Richard was invited by Chet to play with him on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in front of an audience of 1,000. He played Chet’s arrangement of “Whispering,” and Chet played along with him. The audience was so enraptured with Richard that Chet asked him to play another tune. Chet sat in stunned silence while Richard played Chet’s arrangement of “Little Rock Getaway” – perfectly. Chet was too amazed to even play along! By the time he reached his early twenties, both Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed began to refer to Richard Smith as their “Hero”.
Richard has toured the world, surprising audiences everywhere with his genius, showcasing a repertoire spanning an incredible range of musical styles from country, bluegrass, mainstream jazz, modern pop and rock, to classical guitar. In 1999, Richard married the lovely and accomplished American cellist Julie Adams, and settled in Nashville, TN. Shortly thereafter Richard went to Winfield, KS and became the 2001 National Fingerstyle Guitar champion. Richard and Julie now tour the U.S. and the world as a duo to rave reviews.
Julie Adams is one of the most diverse cellists on the music scene today. Raised in Dayton, Ohio, and classically trained at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Cincinnati Conservatory, Julie has won many competitions and played in a wide variety of musical settings. In 1996, she was selected to perform the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Conservatory Orchestra. Since then, she has performed with orchestras in Chicago, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio and Vero Beach, Florida.
Julie has also branched into folk music, playing with well-known fingerstyle guitarist, Muriel Anderson. Julie and Muriel toured extensively throughout the US and released a CD titled “Theme for Two Friends”. Julie is also a Nashville session player and has been featured on a wide range of projects from top ten albums to major film scores. She was most recently featured on a track with country legend Suzy Bogguss on “Beautiful Dreamer”, which won the 2005 Grammy for Folk Album of the Year.
After marrying British guitar champion Richard Smith in 1999, Julie and Richard released “Living Out a Dream”. Audiences in the U.S. and around the world delight in the eclectic mix of Julie’s lyrical style and Richard’s flawless technique. They are truly soul mates – in life and in music!
“The most amazing guy I know on the guitar.”
“He can play anything I know, only better.”
Chet Atkins, CGP
Richard Smith owns many instruments, but his most prized is a guitar, which has written on it, “To my hero, Richard”
– signed Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins
Guitar playing at its finest. Don’t miss this one.”
“If you like my playing, you should hear Richard Smith.”
Tommy Emmanuel, CGP
“He is one of the world’s greatest guitarists.”
“Strings of gold on guitar meet strings of pearls on cello…..When Smith and Adams played their arrangements of “Stardust”, “Spanish Eyes” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” you might have heard the sound of so many hearts filling with dreams……I never knew someone could play a sigh.”
“Adams on cello captures the lushness of green valleys and the haunting calls of seashore to sea. And like her husband Richard Smith, Adams liberated the technical commands of her instrument with a grace of ease that appears effortless and sounds heavenly.”