Jim Smoak is a banjo player, songwriter, and music teacher based in Pekin, Indiana. Growing up on a South Carolina farm, Smoak commonly listened to his grandfather “knocking the banjo” in the clawhammer style. Smoak soon dedicated himself to learning the emerging three-finger playing techniques of regional musicians like Snuffy Jenkins. Smoak moved to Nashville at age 18, and embarked on a long career as a professional performer with acts including Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, the Louisiana Honeydrippers, and the Cumberlands. Smoak continues to work in music today, sometimes booking local gigs simply for the enjoyment of playing.
On February 1st, I met with Jim at his house to talk about his music and record some performances. Click below to hear Jim’s version of “Eight More Miles to Louisville.”