Now beginning its 49th year of performing and recording, singer-songwriters ensemble, Smithfield Fair, boasts 34 albums of original and traditional songs. The band has performed at such events and venues as the World’s Fair, Kerrville Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Dallas International Festival, and legendary clubs such as Rockefeller’s and Anderson Fair in Houston, RadioLive in Pensacola, and even for Chef John Folse’s Food Channel series. They have also been mainstays for many years at cultural and heritage events throughout North America.
Smithfield Fair’s roots are strongly in Cenla. Growing up in the crossroads, the variety of music styles, as well as the stories and people that characterize the Alexandria-Pineville area, have infused the group’s music and created a unique sound and blend.
Through the years, Smithfield Fair made Alexandria its home base for recording, with most of its 34 albums recorded with David Praet at Praet recording. Periodic performances at venues such as the Hearn Theatre, Coughlan-Saunders Center, Saxon Guild concerts, and the A-Town Evenings series have kept the band in touch with their hometown audiences. Their songs are filled with characters from Cenla and such songs as “Sweet Sugar Cane,” theme for the American Sugarcane League, resonate with the sights and sounds of the area. The three songwriters draw on their experiences and times spent in Cenla.
In their various phases, the group has performed in concert with Zachary Richard, Louisiana’s Leroux, the Washington Squares, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Jesse Winchester, Eileen Ivers to name but a few. Over the years, the group has become known for unique harmonies, driving acoustic-based rhythms, and melodic roots-based original songs.
As mentioned, Smithfield Fair’s “Sweet Sugar Cane” has been used as the theme of the American Sugar Cane League for the last five years. They also wrote and performed the music for the animated internet show, “Tugg the Bull Terrier,” and Tex Hill’s feature film, Law of the Six Gun. Their music is a staple on international radio, as well as regular internet and satellite play on Pandora and Sirius/XM radio, and is available on over 100 download sites.
Their most recent release, Looking for Wonderland, addresses the search for belonging and hope. Smithfield Fair is Jan Smith (vocals, acoustic guitar, accordion, piano), Bob Smith (vocals, acoustic bass, percussion) and Dudley-Brian Smith (vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolin, harmonica, recorders). Find more information on our Website: http://www.smithfieldfair.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Smithfield-Fair-130242190392348
The group’s founder, Dudley started the band as “Laughter” in 1973 while stationed with the Navy in Pensacola, Florida and has kept the group going through three name changes and some shifts of personnel. Previously known to Central Louisiana audiences as “Charmer”, the group changed its name in 1989 to “Smithfield Fair” and entered phases concentrating on the music of the group’s shared Scottish heritage. In that genre, they would become known as one of the foremost presenters of Scottish-themed music in North America. Dudley is one of the group’s principal songwriters, its guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist.
Still a resident of Central Louisiana and partnered with his brother Joel in Saxon Studios (fine art and antique restoration), Bob is the group’s bassist, percussionist, as well as vocalist and contributing songwriter. Bob took an extended break from the band to live in Kobe, Japan and study Samarai sword making and restoration. He speaks fluent Japanese and helps create the band’s graphics on most albums. A well-known personality in art circles in Cenla, Bob is also a photographer whose work has been featured on Smithfield Fair albums.
A native of Baton Rouge, Jan had just returned from living in San Francisco when she met Dudley at a recording session. She was already established as a composer and songwriter in her own right, as well as a singer-songwriter and had performed in everything from rock bands to all- women ensembles to opera choruses. She is also one of the group’s main writers and lead vocalists and plays accordion, guitar, and piano in the trio. She joined the group in 1983 and has remained an active member since that time.
Here is the YouTube link for “Sweet Sugar Cane”: https://youtu.be/Zhgd-UITbwE
Here is the YouTube link for “Looking For Wonderland”: https://youtu.be/9DHrCg9ZL2o
Check out & Subscribe to Smithfield-Fair Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/smithfieldfair