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Article Published: Jun. 9, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Many acoustic music lovers are familiar with the music of Steve and Ruth Smith.

The pair of Watauga County musicians is known its deft string work on guitar, claw-hammer banjo and hammered dulcimer and for a unique ability to combine Celtic, classical and Appalachian Mountain music into a cohesive signature sound.

Now, the Smiths are branching out into a more vocal style of music on their latest CD, "Heirlooms."
"We've been playing many of these songs in concert for years, and everyone asks us why we don't record them on our albums, so we finally put the songs on a CD," Steve Smith said.

Now that "Heirlooms" is complete, the Smiths will present the album from start to finish during a live concert at Appalachian State University's Rosen Concert Hall. The show will take place on Sunday, June 12, at 4 p.m. with special musical guests Nancy Schneeloch-Bingham and Cecil Gurganus.
The concert is free and open to the public.

"We recorded the new CD at our home studio, Cabin Cove Studio in Zionville," Smith said. "Every CD is different. We wrote 10 of the 14 songs on this CD."

The main difference, as most Smiths fans will note, is the presence of vocals. Steve's gentle lilt takes on the role of storyteller on songs like "My Grandpa's Watch" and the Blue Ridge Mountain chestnut, "Shady Grove."

"The influence of music in the mountain home cannot be overly stated," Smith said. "It is our history book of the Appalachian region and preserves our heritage. It is a social music meant to bring family and friends together and convey the values that keep these bonds strong. Heirlooms is full of a sense of the past."

"After building our home many years ago, we had no money left to furnish it," Ruth Smith said.

"Family members gave us many family hand-me-downs to get us started. As the years progressed, we became able to buy new furniture and household items, but we realized what a treasure chest of family history we have in our home.

"So, we chose to keep all those things and not replace them, as our home is a living history book of our family heritage. The heirlooms in our lives keep our kinfolk close always."

Grammy Award-winning folk music artist David Holt said, "'Heirlooms' is a spirited collection of fine songs and beautiful hammered dulcimer tunes."

In addition to the upcoming concert this Sunday, the Smiths will be featured in an upcoming episode of the PBS TV series, "Song of the Mountain."

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