Bluegrass Boy Roger Smith Gone But Not Forgotten

Image635049039193957163Prescription Bluegrass has learned of the passing of former Bluegrass Boy, Roger Smith, who passed away this week. He was about to celebrate his 87th birthday this July.  Roger was a banjo and fiddle player in Bill Monore’s Bluegrass Boys.

As a Blue Grass Boy, Roger Smith was hired as a member of the Bean Blossom house band in 1955. Accomplished on fiddle, banjo and guitar, his first show with the Blue Grass Boys was as a guitarist, but he switched instruments with banjoist Joe Stuart midway through the show. From then on he alternated between banjo and fiddle, staying with the band for nearly two years. 

Smith did not pursue music as a full-time career but has remained active in bluegrass both as a teacher and as a performer, filling in with the Blue Grass Boys on many occasions. As of 1999 he was performing with Talmadge Law and the Bluegrass Sounds.

According to close friends, he was still playing at a very high level until just recently. He was a very demanding teacher and musician that believed in "doing it right"  His friends remember there were “…no half hearted efforts with Roger in the house.”



David Hedrick (pictured above) interviewed Roger in 2012 and thoughtfully posted the files on line.  The interview is quite lengthy and very in-depth, running about 40 minutes on each installment.  According to David, “from the early days in the 1930's to playing with Bill Monroe as a Bluegrass Boy, founding member of Stoney Lonesome and time with the Kentucky Gentlemen, Roger has been a foundation for bluegrass music in central Indiana. In the second of three parts, this video discusses, in his own words, how he honed his bluegrass skills, played throughout the mid-West, helped found Stoney Lonesome, recorded with the Kentucky Gentlemen, drove a truck for a living and continued to give lessons.

Roger Smith - My Bluegrass Journey Part 1
Roger Smith - My Bluegrass Journey Part 2
Roger Smith - My Bluegrass Journey Part 3
Roger Smith - My Bluegrass Journey Part 4

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