One of Karen Smedley’s earliest memories was watching Porter Wagonner walk down the hallway to the stage in a pair of bright red cowboy boots on TV. The showmanship he displayed drew her to the music, inspiring her to religiously watch his show and listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Never content with just watching, though-she wanted to perform.
Her natural talent developed at a young age, which led her father to put together a family band, featuring Karen and her two sisters. Traveling across the Southeast, she had the opportunity to see the performers she idolized in person. At 7, she saw Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass. Watching Marty Stuart playing the mandolin, it opened her eyes and set her love of bluegrass on fire. She was taken by the distinct tones of the instrument and told her father that was what she wanted to do. A bluegrass aficionado himself, he readily agreed and her future was set.
Now a seasoned performer, she combines her country sensibilities with the bluegrass sound she fell in love with years ago. Her voice conveys heartbreak and sadness, but never fragility; her brand of hard-driving bluegrass is reminiscent of the great female country vocalists with arrangements that make it all her own.