Hank Smith started playing banjo when he was 16 in his hometown of Florence, SC after begging his parents to get him one for Christmas. More than twenty years later, he’s still at it and going strong.
Hank attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill SC and played in several bands of varying styles. Never one to limit himself to just one style of playing, Hank absorbed other musical influences such as jazz, rock, reggae, classical and of course, bluegrass. In 2002 he met Raleigh NC based jam-grass band, Barefoot Manner and that started his tenure touring nationally and headlining their own festivals year after year. In 2004, Hank was a finalist in the Merlefest Bluegrass Banjo competition and in 2005 received an endorsement from Deering Banjos who built him the custom instrument he plays currently. Today, Hank tours with acoustic soul band, The Morning After, progressive bluegrass band, Acoustic Manner, multi-instrumentalist Lindsey Tims and Blu-Bop: A Tribute to the Music of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Hank is releasing two albums in 2014: one with The Morning After and another with Lindsey Tims. He also teaches banjo, guitar and mandolin at The Raleigh Music Academy. Hank will continue to push the boundaries of what the banjo can do by composing and arranging music that adds a new level of maturation to acoustic and bluegrass influenced idioms.