The founder of Exploring Guitar, Heart Dance recording artist Michael Kent Smith, is a composer who utilizes guitars along with a computer and a variety of folk instruments, particularly the dulcimer, performing on them and weaving the various strands together into vivid compositions that are a blend of classical, jazz, rock, folk, Celtic and Spanish.
Michael Kent Smith has toured the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America and Africa with his various projects and has performed concerts at such notable U.S. venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Chicago Cultural Center. On the global front he has performed in the Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato Mexico, the International Festival of World Music in Mexico City and the International Guitar Festival in Zihuatanejo as well as touring with the Tom Sank Festival in Paris, Rome, Mali and Burkina Faso. During his global travels his music has absorbed the culture, art and musical traditions of each those places. His compositions create a musical tapestry that is both new and old at the same time.
Michael Kent Smith studied classical guitar with Denis Azabagic, fingerstyle guitar with Martin Simpson and Edward Gehard, jazz with Richard Medel, composition with Howard Krueger and flamenco with Manuel Lozano in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. He was the guitarist and principal composer in Pong Unit, the ensemble fronted by poet Marc Smith, inventor of the Poetry Slam. In addition, he has won the Outstanding Soloist award at the prestigious Midwest Jazz festival, was selected as a top 5 finalist in the Blues division of the Yamaha “Six String Theory” competition in 2011 and was voted Chicago’s Best Guitarist in 1989.
Smith has released three CDs,”Beauty Without Warning”; in 2005 and “La Esperanza Sigue” in 2010. Smith’s latest album on Heart Dance Records, “After the Harvest”, is creating a buzz in the industry and has been nominated for “Acoustic Guitar Album of the Year” by the U.K.’s One World Music Radio and “Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year” by the Zone Music Reporter in the United States. The album reached #2 on the One World Music Radio chart and #13 on the Zone Music Reporter chart and is receiving regular radio airplay across the globe from Australia to Egypt and all points between.
As an educator, Smith has over thirty years of experience giving clinics and master classes as well as teaching in classrooms and private lessons.
Press quotes about “After the Harvest”:
Easily the most unique album I have listened to, or written about for many years, with a freshness of musical spirit that will live on forever. This amazing multi-instrumentalist is about to take us on a journey as of yet unknown. – Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio, U.K.
Absolutely showcases his immense skill with the guitar as the work is pure, intricate and infinite; it simply should be totally indulged to truly appreciate. – Janet Mawdesley, BlueWolf Reviews, Australia