Steve Smith and Chris Sanders
Original and traditional acoustic music for mandolin, mandola, guitar and vocals.
Steve Smith (mandolin, mandola, vocals, guitar) and Chris Sanders (guitar, vocals) have been performing together for eight years as a duo and in the Las Cruces based group Steve Smith, Chris Sanders and Hard Road. Their award winning songwriting has landed them both best gospel and instrumental at the New Mexico Music awards in 2006 and best bluegrass and gospel in 2008. Their latest project with Hard Road, Signs Along the Road, is receiving national and international airplay and is climbing folk, bluegrass and roots charts. A June 2010 Bluegrass Unlimited review says “ Smith and Sanders also continue writing lyrics that bounce between introspective psychological examinations and concrete stories, exploring such subjects as talking about “All Things Left Behind”, breaking free "Link By Link" from shackles mental and physical, making a plea that the actions of the young were once "The Same For You", and detailing the life of an abused woman who relies on the "Kindness Of Strangers." These combined with more traditional love and loss themes offer quite an array of emotions. Signs Along The Road refuses any one label, except perhaps that of good, evocative music.”
In concerts across the country, Smith and Sanders bring the depth of musicianship that can only come from two life-long musicians. This from Julie Sullivan, former talent director for the Pickin’ in the Pines festival: “(They) blend an exquisite musical web of intimacy, humor and grace. Chris Sanders’ voice pours out like golden brandy. Profound original lyrics accompanied by Steve's passionate instrumental prowess on both mandolin and mandola, make for an unforgettable and richly layered show...they are simultaneously masterful, with complete down-home charm.”
Steve Smith (Mandolin, mandola, guitar, composition and vocals)
Steve Smith has been performing for nearly thirty years in about as many types of musical situations as one can imagine. He has appeared as a solo artist, bandleader, in-demand sideman, session player and producer in traditional bluegrass (his first love), old-time, Celtic, new acoustic, jazz and chamber music. His deep Virginia roots and thirty years of traveling the country give him a hard driving unique instrumental sound coupled with a powerful tenor.
Besides his recordings with Sanders and Hard Road (Meet Me by the River, Only so Fast and Signs Along the Road), he can be heard on XM Radio on cuts from Made to Last (2008), his recording with the Alan Munde Gazette. He appears on the latest release by guitarist extraordinaire Jim Hurst, A Box of Chocolates and on Bungalow by singer/songwriter Bob Einweck which he also produced.
When not working with Chris, Hard Road or the Alan Munde Gazette, Steve’s solo tours have taken him from Florida to Alaska, the Caribbean to Europe. His shows feature his smoky tenor, original tunes and unique arrangements of traditional and modern music, from delicate finger style to hard driving rhythm. Recent years have also brought appearances with Jim Hurst and the Bill Evans String Summit.
One of the premiere mandolin players in America, Steve is a well-known instructor for lessons and workshops. He maintains a busy teaching and workshop schedule that has included Zoukfest in Santa Fe, the California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp and twelve years as mandolin instructor at Camp Bluegrass.
Chris Sanders (Vocals, composition, guitar, piano)
Chris Sanders, a Minnesota transplant who now lives in Las Cruces, NM, grew up in a musical home and inherited her grandmother’s talent for playing by ear and her mother’s life long passion for music. She toured with the Concordia Choir and worked with various bands in Colorado and the San Francisco Bay Area, taking a detour along the road to get a masters degree in vocal performance and raise a family. While teaching voice at New Mexico State University, she directed and arranged for the vocal group Cider Jazz. She has also taught the University of Texas El Paso, directing the UTEP Jazz Singers.
It was Steve Smith who gave her the opportunity to get back on the road and develop as a songwriter. Since 2004 their modern/retro string band "Hard Road" has appeared at concerts and festivals throughout the country. Chris also sings and plays piano in a jazz duo with guitarist Bob Hull. In her long and diverse career she has performed in recital as singer and pianist and co-founded "Actors' Training Project", a dramatic arts program in the San Francisco Bay Area. In February of 2008 the musical "We Are Enron", which she co-wrote, premiered to packed houses at NMSU. She has taught at Hill Country Acoustic Camp, appearing at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2009, and at Camp Bluegrass. She counts Neil Semer and Dede Wyland as major teaching influences.