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.
Aaron Till is a Native of Florida. Starting on the guitar at a young age, Aaron was captivated by the sounds of Merle Travis’ alternating bass style, as well as Big Band orchestras, classic rock and some of the pop music of the day. Aaron graduated to bluegrass, swing and fiddle tunes, and at fifteen, took up the fiddle. In these genres he studied the masterful fiddling of such luminaries as Vassar Clements, Bobby Hicks, Mark O’Connor, Stephane Grappelli, and many others.
Aaron moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1995, and is in high demand for recording sessions and as a sideman. In the bluegrass world he has worked with J.D. Crowe, Jim and Jesse, Joe Issacs, The Wildwood Valley Boys, The Sidemen, and others. In the Country music world, Aaron has played with Tonya Tucker and has been touring with CMA award winner Mark Chesnutt for over 5 years. He also plays a regular Monday night spot at the famous Fiddle and Steel bar with RCA artist Tony Tolliver. Aaron often plays with the Hot Club of Nashville along with Richard Smith, Stuart Duncan, Pat Bergeson and Charlie Chadwick.
Together Richard and Aaron play a wide range of music including traditional fiddle tunes, Reinhardt and Grappelli swing standards, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed numbers, and popular classics.
“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.”