Valerie Smith and J. Gregory Heinike begin to build an independent record label, BELL BUCKLE RECORDS, located in Bell Buckle, TN. The label was used to record shows in the area and Valerie produced the, "Live at the Bell Buckle Cafe Series." The record label released several projects, Grammy Award nominated artist and songwriter, Tom Roznowski, "A Well Traveled Porch", Becky Buller's, "Little Bird", John Hartford and Jim Wood's, "The Bullies Have Come to Town" and many other talented artists to date.
Valerie collaborated with award-winning producer, singer, songwriter, member of Nashville Bluegrass Band, Alan O'Bryant to record her first CD, "Patchwork Heart." She included a song that she penned with Alan O'Bryant, Kraig Smith called, "Hand Me Down". The track 1, RED CLAY HALO, charted for at least 4 years on the Bluegrass Unlimited Survey as well as Americana Country Radio. The project included legendary, Charlie Louvin to record the classic song, "My Baby's Gone" as a timeless duet. Many legendary and award winning musicians added their talent to the project (Jerry Douglas, Roland White, Bryan Sutton, and Stuart Duncan)
The GRAND OLE OPRY invited Valerie to sing the Louvin Brother’s classic, My Baby’s Gone with Charlie Louvin. Later Valerie’s
concerts would be seen on Public Television specials throughout the world.
Her band, "Liberty Pike" was created with most members being located in Alabama. The name seemed fitting for the band because they would travel countless hours to meet for rehearsals and shows. The members of the first collaboration are Sheila Wingate, Alan Watkins, Andy Leftwich, and Jimmy Wingate. Since then she has had many different configurations ranging from,
Matt Leadbetter, Megan McCormick, Lizzy Long, Rebekah Long, Chad Graves, Stephen Mougin, Brandon Bostic, Bobby Davis,
Travis Altop, Richard Baily, Becky Buller and more fine instrumentalists.
International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) introduces Valerie Smith by inviting her to perform at the conference.
This performance produced a large debate among the bluegrass community of “Is it bluegrass if you are not holding an instrument”?
“Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike” would begin to tour across the United States and was recognized by the International Bluegrass Association and nominated for ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR and EMERGING ARTIST.
Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America would nominate Valerie Smith for “Traditional Female Vocalist” for 12 years. Valerie Smith and Travis Altop go to Europe as a duet and perform at several theaters, festivals and radio stations. She would later be invited with her band, Liberty Pike, to perform for several tours (15 to date).
Red Clay Halo is recognized as one of the top 60 bluegrass recordings of the decade by the Bluegrass Unlimited Survey.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum uses Valerie Smith as an introductory program for “Bluegrass in the Schools”,
since she has performed 3 of those programs in Owensboro, TN. Louisville, KY Public Television would release her show from "Festival of Bluegrass".
“Turtle Wings” was released by Bell Buckle Records and Rebel Records to Americana and Bluegrass radio. The CD was produced by
Alan O’Bryant and included her band, Liberty Pike (Richard Baily, Andy Leftwich, Travis Altop, and Sheila Wingate) among
guests artists Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, Claire Lynch, Bryan Sutton, Tim O’Bryant and many more.
Ralph Stanley and Rebel Records invites Valerie to collaborate on the song, I’ll Remember You Love in my Prayer’s, on the
Grammy-nominated, “Clinch Mountain Sweethearts”.
Rebel Record’s, Mark Newton would also invite Valerie to collaborate on IBMA award-winning, “Follow Me Back to the Fold.”
New faces to “Liberty Pike” are introduced; Eddie Miller, Becky Buller, Randall Conn and Johnny Miller. The untimely death of mandolin player, Eddie Miller, led to another band shakeup. The new members that would finish the live recordings and tour
were Becky Buller, Randall Conn, John Wesley Lee, Jessica Lee and Steven Mougin.
Legendary engineer and producer, Richard Adler produces Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike’s, “No Summer Storm” that features her band members. The project is released in October of 2001, track 9, Lord, I’m Ready Now, would remain on the
Bluegrass Unlimited Survey Charts for 2 years.
Valerie finds herself off the road to release her next CD “That’s What Love Can Do", engineered and produced by Richard Adler. Valerie and Kraig Smith wrote the title cut of the project, That’s What Love Can Do. he project and In Those Mines would chart on the Bluegrass Unlimited Survey, Americana and Roots genres.
Performs a duet, In Those Mines, with multi-Grammy and award winning male vocalist, Russell Moore. The song (written by Becky Buller) has since been noticed in many genres and released on compilations.
Valerie Smith becomes one of the “Daughters of Bluegrass” a series released by Blue Circle Records and receives a group nomination for 2006 “Recorded Event of the Year” among many talented female artist on Blue Circle Records.
Year - 2007
Valerie Smith, Kraig Smith and Becky Buller write, “Ole John Bell” and record “Wade in the Water” for the soundtrack of “Bell Witch, the Movie”.
Alan O’Bryant and Becky Buller produce and engineer duet CD, “Here’s A Little Song” to be released by
Bell Buckle Records.
Alan O’Bryant in collaboration with Becky Buller to produce Valerie’s first gospel CD, “Wash Away Your Troubles.”
It was included in 12 categories in consideration for being amongst the top Dove Award nominees.
The project later receives, Best Gospel Album of 2009, “JP.F Music Awards” (Just Plain Folks)
USA Rural Roots Music Commission National 2009 recognizes “Here’s A Little Song” for Contemporary CD of the Year for 2009.
Valerie Smith receives the “Rising Legend” award on September 5, 2009 from the National Tradition Country Music Association at the 34th Annual National Old Time Country Music Festival.
Bell Buckle Records release, “Blame it on the Bluegrass,” to honor the International Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. The project was unique in that it was recorded in the museum during late hours of the night. The song, “Blame it on the Bluegrass” remains a favorite for bluegrass radio and was in the top 5 singles charted on the Bluegrass Unlimited Survey.
Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike performed on television shows, The Ronnie Reno Show, Bluegrass Underground and Music City Roots.
Bell Buckle Records releases a compilation CD, Valerie Smith’s, “Some of My Favorites!”.
Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike perform for television show “Songs of the Mountain.”
Multi-Award winning musician, vocalist, Mike Scott produces Valerie Smith’s “The Human Condition” that includes
timeless songs of our generation. The project collaborates several artists in an array of genres (blues, country, folk, rock and bluegrass)
to tell a story about the world around us.
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