H.W. “Bill” Smith Information
H W. “Bill” Smith has been a musician for more than 50 years and a participant in the performing arts for close to 60 years. He has worked with bands in Wisconsin, California, Montana and Virginia and has toured extensively. Smith has been a life-long working musician and has worked in many different bands ranging from folk to rock-and-roll and blues. He plays numerous instruments including string bass and other bass instruments as well as guitar, violin, mandolin, banjo, Irish Penny Whistle and several others.
Smith was raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin by a mother, Conne Smith who was a Big Band singer in Chicago during WWII. She was also an actress, theater founder and playwright. He has toured nationally with the Montana Repertory Theater as a pit musician and has also played in pit orchestras for the Missoula Community Theater, Waukesha Civic Theater, Penny Players and many others. For a number of years, Smith toured as a musician/storyteller with Roadside Theater, an internationally known Appalachian based storytelling theater troop. Smith has also appeared in feature films, most notably “Gods and Generals” and “Big Stone Gap. He has acted in more than 100 productions of all types.
Before moving to Southwest Virginia in 1994, Smith served as the technical director of the University of Montana School of Fine Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from that institution with High Honors. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Virginia at Wise. Smith was the first executive director of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a 253-mile music trail through Southwest Virginia that includes more than 10 major venues. He currently hosts The Crooked Road Radio Hour on WBCM LP located at the Birthplace of Country Museum in Bristol, Virginia. The show live streams on Radio Bristol.
Currently Smith performs original stories and music as a solo act and with other regional musicians. He appears on several albums with Richard Phillips and Friends, a group he has played fiddle and bass with for many years, He formerly played with Old, Fat and Sloe and recorded with them in 2010. Smith teaches Fiddle in the Junior Appalachian Musicians youth music program. Smith also performs traditional Appalachian Mountain Music with his wife Nancy and splits time between Big Stone Gap, Virginia and Lozeau, Montana.