Kenny & Amanda Smith
Winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2003, (not to mention Amanda's recent IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year award!) the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band combines gutsy, heartfelt vocals, brilliant instrumental talents and a powerful, contemporary sense of song choice and arrangement into one of the most compelling new sounds in bluegrass today.
A creation of the intensely personal musical and romantic connection between Kenny and Amanda, the band shares an all-too-rare sense of intimacy and cohesion where each musician feels an almost telepathic connection. Musicians call it being in the groove, where the group collectively accents each beat in precisely the same way. With Kenny leading the way on guitar, this band never has trouble finding the groove. To learn more about America's Bluegrass Sweethearts, click here...
Flatpicker Tim May has been working in the Nashville area for over 20 years as a sideman, session player, band member and performer. Higher profile projects have included touring with Patty Loveless and John Cowan, and working as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry with Mike Snider. Tim was the solo guitarist on Charlie Daniels’ recording of I’ll Fly Away, which was nominated for the Best Country Instrumental Performance Grammy in 2005, the same year he was session leader on the critically acclaimed Moody Bluegrass album (he later played on Moody Bluegrass II as well). The Nashville Scene selected Tim in the Best Instrumentalist category in their 2012 Reader's Choice Poll. In 2017, Tim performed on the stage of the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York.
Tim is co-author of the eight volume course 'Flatpicking Essentials', The Guitar Player's Practical Guide to Scales and Arpeggios, The Mandolin Player's Practical Guide to Scales and Arpeggios, The Flatpicker's Guide to Old Time Music, and the Flatpicker's Guide to Irish Music. He has taught regularly at Camp Bluegrass, Kaufman Kamp, Colorado Roots Music Camp, Nashcamp, and the Swannanoa Gathering. He and his wife Gretchen are owners of the Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee.
Adam Schlenker is a flat pick guitarist from southern West Virginia who is currently based in Columbus Ohio. In addition to teaching full time he works as a guitar and mandolin player for regional touring acts as well as doing session work.
Desiring to expand on his teaching, Adam founded 5th Fret Productions in 2009. The idea was to combine online, video based lessons with one on one lessons. He has been featured in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and is working with an ever expanding number of flat pick students around the world. Thanks to the Skype technology, Adam's private student base stretches across the US, Europe and all the way to Australia, allowing him to lend a hand to anyone wishing to work on their flat pick skills.
Tim was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. His mother's Browder side of the family was musical, and his twin sisters play piano and sing. After starting out on drums, Tim discovered bluegrass in the mid-1970s as a freshman at Ketron High School, becoming a banjo player. He switched to guitar in the late 70s and became a member of several groups, including Mountain Memories and The Boys in the Band. In the late 1980s, Tim formed Dusty Miller with Adam Steffey and Adam's wife at the time, Tammy Rogers (later a founding member of the Steeldrivers), Brian Fesler and Barry Bales. Alison Krauss hired Tim, Adam and Barry in 1990 and Union Station proceeded to record a Grammy-winning CD, Every Time You Say Goodbye (Rounder, 1992). After leaving the band in 1992 to spend more time with his family, including his infant son Daniel, Tim worked odd jobs and taught at different colleges and universities until he formed Blue Highway in 1994 with Wayne Taylor, Shawn Lane, Rob Ickes and Jason Burleson. The band is one of the most decorated and influential in bluegrass history, having been nominated for 3 Grammys, winning a Dove Award, and nearly 30 IBMA Awards. In March 2016, Blue Highway was named the most popular bluegrass artist in history in an online poll by Bluegrass Today. In December 2016, their CD Original Traditional was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best Bluegrass Album" category. Tim is a prolific songwriter, with over 250 songs recorded. He was named IBMA's Songwriter of the Year in 2014 and 2017. In addition, he is a sought-after studio musician, having recorded with over 75 artists in addition to Blue Highway, including Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Jorma Kaukonen, Jesse McReynolds, Benny Sims, Marty Raybon, Joe Isaacs, Ronnie Bowman, Charles Sawtelle, Tony Trischka, Larry Sparks, Jim Mills and many others. Tim was named SPBGMA Guitar Performer of the Year in 2001 and 2015. He has produced many award-winning records for various artists, including Kenny Chesney, The Infamous Stringdusters (IBMA 2007 co-album of the Year) , and Knee Deep in Bluegrass, the Acutab Sessions (IBMA 2001 Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year). Tim performed many times with Hazel Dickens, including the Lincoln Center in New York (2006), Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT (2005), Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Francisco, CA (2010), Wintergrass, Tacoma WA (2003). He has taught at nearly all the bluegrass-oriented camps, including Rockygrass Academy, Camp Bluegrass (South Plains College, TX), Augusta Heritage, Wintergrass Academy, Sore Fingers (UK), Bluegrass at the Beach, Nashcamp, Kaufman's Flatpicking Camp, California Bluegrass Association Camp at Grass Valley, St. Louis Flatpick, Resosummit, Summergrass Academy, Grand Targhee, Bluegrass Masters Weekend, and Nashville Flatpick and Songwriting Camp. Tim worked on a PhD in History at Miami University in the mid 1980s. He has taught American History, Western Civ, Appalachian Studies, Mass Communications and Popular Culture, Personal instruction in guitar and banjo, American Roots Music, and Bluegrass-related courses at several colleges and Universities, including Miami, East Tennessee State, and Appalachian State University. In 2010, he and Caroline Wright co-authored Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story, the critically-acclaimed authorized biography of bluegrass Hall of Fame member and living legend Tony Rice. Tim gave the keynote address at the 1994 IBMA World of Bluegrass in Owensboro, KY and has been on the IBMA Board of Directors two different times, serving as Vice Chair from 1995 to 1998. He is a former Board member of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music. On May 8, 2015, Tim was named a Distinguished Alumnus in the Arts by the East Tennessee State University National Alumni Society. Tim released his first solo record, Endless Line in 2004 on FGM Records to critical acclaim. It was nominated for IBMA’s Instrumental Recording of the Year in 2005. His second, Just to Hear the Whistle Blow, was released in July 2014, while his third, Acoustic Guitar, was released in September 2017. In addition, he has recorded two duet projects--one with Steve Gulley, Dogwood Winter, in 2010 and What We Leave Behind: A Songwriters' Collection, with Bobby Starnes in 2018.