“It was just a job opportunity that presented itself,” he said. “Going to fiddling conventions when I was young, I decided that was what I was going to do even if it wasn’t a glorious lifestyle. “
In 2013, the group “High Voltage”, with Jesse Smathers as lead singer, won first place in the bluegrass group category at the Galax Old Time Fiddler Convention.
A year later, he joined “Nothin ‘Fancy” in Lexington, Virginia.
The dream of being part of the Lonesome River Band came true in 2015 when he was hired to replace Randy Jones on mandolin and vocals. Most recently, he switched to the guitar.
Two years ago, Smathers moved to Floyd, Va., Where he teaches mandolin, guitar and vocals at the Handmade Music School, and works part-time for the legendary bluegrass and old-time record store “County”. Dirty “when he’s not on the road. .
Having written music since his teens, Smathers will include two of his original songs on the solo album he is currently recording for release later this year. He doesn’t have a name for it yet.
This will be his first solo project, he said, noting “I’ve been making music on the road for 11 years and wanted something to show.”
Another change in his life came in April of last year when he married Sara Farley, whose father Kenny played with the Mount Airy Easter Brothers.