FYC Best Americana Album

What are the critics saying about my new theme album?

As I did with my previous album, DUST BOWL: AMERICAN STORIES, I spent more than three years researching the subject, and then writing songs that captured its key moments and cultural touchstones. This time the subject was very personal, because since the early 1800s, most of my family came from Appalachia; eastern Kentucky in particular. I wanted to address the stereotypes about barefooted hillbillies, clan wars and moonshine, and paint a very different picture about his amazing region.

I wanted to tell the story of the Appalachia that I know - in music. Are there troubles? Sure, like everywhere else. But while the songs are clear-eyed, they are also meant to reflect the unique humor and outlook on life of the people.

Recorded during the COVID lock-downs of 2020, I enlisted my co-producer from DUST BOWL, Jeff Silverman of Palette Music, just outside Nashville. Jeff had figured out a way to record our players remotely, while still allowing real-time audio and video interaction during the sessions. It took longer, but we got it done, thanks to Jeff.

Returning players include 14-time IBMA Best Dobro Player in the world winner Rob Ickes, as well as multi-ACM winner pedal steel player Mike Johnson and percussionist Matthew Burgess. New faces include the Grand Ole Opry's fiddler Matt Combs, acoustic guitar wunderkind Trey Hensley, Bouzouki master Frances Cunningham, and backing vocalists Kim Fleming and Kim Mont, among others.


I have made two videos for this album so far: first for "The Coal Comes Up," filmed in an actual coal mine in Harlan County, Kentucky. It recently won the BEST AMERICANA VIDEO in the INDIE MUSIC CHANNEL AWArDS. The second was filmed in and around a river in Townsend, eastern Tennessee, for the river baptism song, "Down to Hatchabee Road."  This song recently received an HMMA nomination for BEST AMERICANA SONG. By the way, there's no "green screen" videos for me - these were filmed right on location in Appalachia. That's me in the coal mine and me standing in the river!


You can listen to the entire album using the private SoundCloud page below. Please don't share this link:


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Grant Maloy Smith

My music has spent more than four months on the Billboard charts. My album DUST BOWL: AMERICAN STORIES spent 11 weeks in the top 10. I have also charted on the MusicRow Country Breakout charts. I am scheduled to play Lincoln Center for the first time this December, and Carnegie Hall for the second time in April 2022.

Jeff Silverman (NARAS-IC-Nashville) head

Jeff Silverman

In addition to producing albums for Rick Springfield, Grant Maloy Smith  and others, Jeff Silverman's Palette MSP can now provide Dolby Atmos® 3D immersive mixes for his clients. Although he's based in Nashville, he produces music for artists around the world thanks to his Virtual Studio Network where he can track players remotely, and clients can take part in sessions from anywhere. Visit Jeff's website:


The album has also been entered into the craft category of "Best Album Notes." I wrote a 40-page book that is included in the box set. You can flip through the pages of the book below. Click the right or left arrows on the book to turn the pages forward or backward.

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Thank you for considering APPALACHIA: AMERICAN STORIES for best Americana album. And for taking the time to learn more about it. I deeply appreciate that. Time is all we have here, so every moment is priceless.


Due to the high cost of producing the boxed set, free copies are not available, unfortunately.

It's a beautiful package, available for purchase with LP + CD + book, or CD + book at this link.