EXCLUSIVE–Valerie Smith Biographical Book Coming Soon!

VAL 1For those who’ve been telling Valerie Smith that she ought to write a book,  …she’s been listening and she’s been writing.

For those who only know the “Musical Side” of Valerie Smith, stand by to be surprised!

Prescription Bluegrass is honored that Valerie has chosen our blog as not only the vehicle to launch the news but also the place for you to read “excerpts-in-progress.”  

“The Potato Cellar” is going to be the name of the book and Valerie says even that’s biographical.  It comes from her real-life adventures from growing up on her family’s farm.      READ EXCERPT BELOW!

According to Val, the book will be about the lessons she’s learned and the journey she’s been on that has taught her those lessons.   She also says that it won’t take another musician to be able to understand but that any reader will be able to relate to her stories.

The book is expected to be completed by 2014 but she hinted that she’s been writing so much lately that the release date may be bumped up as early as sometime in 2013.

People have asked me to write but I never thought I really had anything to say,”  Valerie told Prescription Bluegrass during a telephone interview.  She also plans to accompany the book with several musical selections, some of which she plans to write herself. 

It was on a recent family trip when she took her young daughter to see the farm that Valerie got another look at that old potato cellar door and realized that the potato cellar and all her childhood experiences associated with it had grounded her and made her who she is.

Prescription Bluegrass will feature excerpts from the book along with samples of the accompanying songs approximately once-a-month.   For our first installment Valerie has provided us with the prologue.   Enjoy!




A “Potato Cellar”, funny place to begin a book! When it comes to the entertainment business or life in general, you can begin your story anywhere. In this case, my theater opens a unique curtain of an old, grass-covered cellar located on our Missouri farm that overlooks the valley and trees and sits across from the cabin that has nestled there for generations. You can smell the dirt, crops, and livestock on a windy day, and if you close your eyes, the sounds of birds and tree leaves are clapping to the rhythm of life that eventually would be the music of my life. One of my pass-times, was to run to the bottom of the cellar and open the aged wood door and create a hiding place. When walking into the cement-lined opening, one could smell mold, mud, aged potatoes and feel the cool that remained the same temperature throughout the year. The cellar also provided safety from the threatening tornado and storm weather; provided a good escape from the outside world that could feel so cruel and confusing. Yes,….this was a solid beginning for my book into my world, the potato cellar. It was my first intention to focus on women involved in the independent music industry, since that had been my passion for many years, but as time drifted on, this story became about something much more than that subject, it grew into a tale that began on top of that simple man-made cellar. Who would think my life would bring me back to such a simple place?

To this day, there is a well-travelled gravel road, yet, undeveloped that is lined with dust covered corn, grass and fields, not very pretty, but familiar. This road became a common journey for me to wander from my home to our family farmstead after school days or on a slow weekend.

I grew up in a common Mid-west town called, “Holt, Missouri, (301 populations to be exact). It is now one of the many ghost civilizations that thrived long ago in the farming industry when trains would make regular stops for grain, farmers individually owned cream in cans, and the trains would deliver from other places to put our goods in local stores. If you needed a ticket to go to Kansas City, MO, you could get a ride there and back for whatever reason. Val Pull QuoteMy town used to house two banks, mule barn, grocery and drug store and butcher market. My dad told me of what they used with the torn-down buildings that provide spaces from existing merchants that had gone out of business , they were used for our town folk to buy a ticket and watch the latest movie on Saturday nights. The merchants would chip in money for the movie; it was real happening for everyone! My parent’s childhood was very simple too; the only television in town was located in the local gas station where children gathered in groups with cold sodas from the vending machine and watch famous shows, like the “Howdy Doody” hour. Afterwards, the parents would purchase blocks of ice and put it on the bumper of their car and drive it to their refrigerators at home. No electricity, so they iced things down throughout the week. This detailed information was shared by my parents and grandparent memories from time to time on the front porches of our homes. In my youth, television and computers were not really a major part of our everyday lives, so imagination, music, memories and dreams took up our thoughts. Now I realize how valuable those days were and hope they are not completely lost with each generation. I had chores, the yard trimming, picking strawberries, beans, peas, corn, potatoes and a variety of other things. One of them would be to walk to the local post office to get the daily mail. As I would make this trip, I would look at our sleepy town; I knew that it was once an active, thriving place to live. There was a fascination to think that there was whole other life before I was in the scenery of that portrait. As I would walk along the covered railroad track, only relics and shadows remain in my eyesight. Left to survive was the Rose’s CafĂ©, butcher shop, pool hall, small antique store, gas station, Veteran’s Hall (where dances took place on some Friday nights) and a few churches, later a large lumber company was placed along the downtown strip that never really took off. Recently, the town closed down our grade school, but did create a town park.

My life was unassuming, not too exciting, and predictable. Some people liked that, but I wanted more; there had to be more! During my many journeys down the same dusty road to our family farm, I would dreamed about what people did in cities, music they made, their stories and what their daily lives must be like.

Back to the potato cellar, built underground, but stood high above the prairie fields of the farm, you could regularly feel a breeze whisk across your skin that came from somewhere far away, from another civilization. The smell of that breeze and the relaxing view represented possibilities of a future and my willingness to work hard for a dream that for me, music. To understand my story, you don’t need a potato cellar, because it could be about anyone, whether we realize it or not, all of us possess a journey that begins the day we are born or somewhere relevant in our life when closing our eyes. As you read my short stories, I hope that you can relate with some of them so that you know that you are not alone in this world. We all have a “Potato Cellar” somewhere lurking in our minds!

(Ed. Note:  Photo used for publication not necessarily representative of actual potato cellar mentioned in book)

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