Rob Smith graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University's College of Music, has performed in almost every major city in the U.S., and has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music, including Sugar Ray, Jewel, Huey Lewis and the News, Switchfoot, Vanessa Carlton and Pat Benatar. As a busy studio musician on guitar and bass, he has also worked with world-renown engineers and producers. He has been heard on radio, TV, film, and many other artist’s recordings.
Rob is heavily influenced by songwriters, including newer artists like Ben Harper and Jack Johnson to legends like Stevie Wonder and Joe Cocker. His rhythmic driven guitar parts groove with a comfortable laid back intensity. Vocals span the gamut from a gravel voiced scream to a fragile vulnerable whisper. The song dictates it all.
"There are good elements in everything. You just have to look for it and learn from it. I listen to everything from country to jazz, classical to hip-hop, funk to Americana. I consider my guitar playing and vocals as simply vehicles to get the ideas across. My influences span the entire spectrum of music.”
“The most important thing I think a song needs is honesty. You have to make a connection with people and give them something they can relate to. I just want people to get something out of the tunes, whether that's hope and encouragement or just a smile from a tasty groove. We all go through some of the same experiences, and I'm just trying to share that with the audience.""
Kristen Kay Smith saw CATS at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas when she was little and has been performing ever since!
She graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Music Education in Choral/Classical Voice with Piano and Religion Minors and from New York University Steinhardt with a Master of Music in Musical Theatre Performance.
Originally from Kerrville, TX, she grew up singing, playing piano and violin, and performing at the Smith/Ritch Point Theatre and Playhouse 2000. Her performances now include touring with Baylor’s musical theatre ensemble, ShowTime!, in TX, Austria as Artists-in-Residence at AIMS, Hawaii, and on the Grand Princess Cruise, NYU performances of Candide, Menken and Rice’s 10th Anniversary Production of King David, Italy in Classics on Broadway, and Off-Broadway Showcase at New World Stages, NYC performances with Love Creek Productions, and Virginia performances at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Mill Mountain Theatre, Opera Roanoke, Roanoke Children's Theatre, TV, radio, and other artist's recordings.
“In order to be true to your creative self, you must be willing to journey to the center of the self. You can’t perform authentically if you don’t trust yourself. You can’t trust yourself without courage. Dare yourself to believe in your creativity, where it leads. Trust that where it leads is exactly where you’re supposed to be. Have courage.” - Dr. Leta Horan
Curt Baker's musical journey began at age 15 learning the basics of dobro guitar from a school mate, David McMillan in Nashville, TN. While living in Nashville, he was encouraged in his learning by the legendary players Pete "Oswald" Kirby and Shot Jackson. When his family moved to Virginia, Curt continued his learning with the help of several regional bluegrass artists. He was soon playing well enough to perform at many of the local festivals and music venues in the Roanoke , VA area. After college, Curt left the music behind to pursue family and career.
After a 20 year hiatus, acoustic steel guitarist, Curt Baker returned to the instruments and music that he loved so well. To help "get the rust off" his playing, he attended the Augusta Heritage music program at Davis & Elkins College. There, he was tutored by Michael Witcher in the finer points of the dobro. The following year, Curt began a 2 year stint as a student of resophonic guitar master Mike Auldridge. "What Mike taught me wasn't what I thought I was wanting to learn from him. Instead of a lot of cool licks and breaks, he taught me what it means to be a musician. He made me into a steel guitar sideman."
Curt's first cd "Welcome Back to Slidetown" was only meant to be a sampler for his family and friends. Its unexpected commercial success led to his next project with musical partner Greg Honeycutt . That cd, "Straight From the Porch" by Baker and Honeycutt (2007), received rave reviews from the bluegrass press as well as radio air play and live radio interviews for the duo. "I have been blessed to get to play with some very outstanding players. Recording with them has really been a high point for me musically." In 2011, Curt released his most recent cd, "Slidetown Reunion" on Catwaba Records. " 'Slidetown Reunion' is my way to show my appreciation to all the folks who have helped me in music. I was really excited to have Mike Auldridge join in on 2 tracks!"
Curt appears with a number of regional bands doing "fill in" duty and has recorded on many other artist's recordings. He has appeared on tv and radio throughout southwest Virginia and has won several awards and contests with his playing. Curt has served as an assistant instructor at Accu-Tabs Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend and performed in their concert series. He has worked with several masters of resophonic guitar including Rob Ickes, Phil Leadbetter, Curtis Burch, Randy Kohrs, and Stacey Phillips. "I am very excited to join Carrington Kay! We have a lot of fun when we play and that is what it should be...fun!"
Eric Hollandsworth grew up as a multi-instrumentalist in Roanoke VA, performing on the cello, electric and upright bass and violin through high school and college with a diverse collection of bands and groups ranging from Bluegrass to Rock to Jazz to Classical.