With a career that has taken him around the country and across the world to perform, write and record, Mr. Smith has discovered that ESA is a fulfilling place to settle down. Originally from southeastern Ohio, Mr. Smith studied music therapy at Tennessee Tech before changing course and moving to Asheville, North Carolina, where he earned a B.A. in jazz performance from Brevard College. While in North Carolina, he taught African drumming, instructed drumlines and directed percussion ensembles for middle and high school students as an adjunct teacher.
In 2005, Mr. Smith moved to Los Angeles, where he served as a middle school band director, taught music privately at the Rock School of Los Angeles, and played professionally. As a percussionist, he recorded with Peter Rowan, Alex Ebert, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and others. As the drummer and one of the lead singers of Truth & Salvage Co., Mr. Smith toured with The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Miller Band, The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers. His band traveled to Iraq to play for U.S. troops stationed there. In the fall of 2022, Truth & Salvage Co. reunited to perform and record.
Mr. Smith's music career took him to Nashville in 2012, where he played music and wrote songs for various artists. Some of his songs have been featured on the CMT website’s up-and-coming artists page.
In 2014, Mr. Smith moved to Lafayette with his wife Monti, a Carencro native, and daughter (they have since added a son). He found a home at ESA, and has spent the past few years shaping the Cade campus music program. While he plays guitar and piano, Mr. Smith is primarily a percussionist. He uses instruments such as the drums, marimba and xylophone to engage the students quickly. In teaching rhythm, melody and harmony – the basic elements of music – Mr. Smith says learning is instantaneous with percussion instruments. He encourages students to play all of the instruments in his classroom, and continually adds to the collection.