As a youth Al began developing his musical chops on bass guitar, and along the way picked up other usable skills on electric guitar and drums. In time he was encouraged to write songs and explore all genres of music from Blues to Pop, R&B, Rock n Roll, and even Country. Eventually recognition came through the musician’s grapevine and Al began touring and playing with different bands on shows with the likes of The Commodores (Lionel Richie’s group), Chaka Kahn & Rufus, Teddy Pendergrass, and even the great James Brown.
In search of greater creative expression, Al began putting together and fronting his own bands. However, in time he came to realizes that coupled with the music industry’s unclear methods of determining who and what they deemed worthy of their time and financial investment; the hassle of trying to keep a group of talented different personalities on the same creative page often proved to be a difficult and counter-productive task. In time he figured things out and began performing as a solo artist. By creating his own tracks and playing his special MIDI guitar (channeled through a guitar synthesizer) and singing, he in effect became his own unique one man band. As a result, Al finally had the creative freedom he always wanted and was now in position to seamlessly adapt his particular style of performing to fit any circumstance any type of venue (clubs/theaters and festivals).
These days he is regarded by a broad range of audiences, and fellow musicians, as a legitimate missing link between the great classic rock and classic soul era of the 1970’s. In effect, a bridge connecting a golden era of music’s past to the eclectic music landscape of today. In a nutshell Al Smith seems to have finally found a niche that fits perfectly with his array of talents. He’s in a GOOD place and no longer a well kept secret.
Lastly, since music trends are predictably cyclical, even Hip Hop audiences who previously rejected anything that wasn’t Hip Hop are now older and more opened to experiencing something different. To a degree, this openness and willing to explore something different might very well contribute to the recent successes of many of today’s tribute bands. However, unlike tribute bands who focus only on the music of a particular artist, Al’s personal crusade is to pay homage to an entire music genre by introducing it to a new legion of music listeners in a way that crosses gender, racial and the generation divide.