The Hard Road Trio’s sound has grown from Steve’s love of bluegrass rooted in his native Virginia, the beauty of choral singing ever-present in Chris’ Minnesota childhood and the musical traditions of Anne’s New Mexico family. Together, north and south meet the west and create a unique heartbeat ... a spacious sound full of light that "...refuses any one label, except perhaps that of good, evocative music,” says Bluegrass Unlimited.
The Trio has traveled the U.S., appearing at the Desert Bluegrass Festival in Tucson, the Black Hills Bluegrass Festival and Bluegrass on the Green in Illinois in 2011. Steve, Chris and Anne have been seen at the Bozeman Folklore Society, Yellowstone Bluegrass, Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage, Swallow Hill, the Wildflower Concert Series, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Oklahoma Intl. Bluegrass Festival, Albuquerque Folkfest, Santa Fe Old Time and Bluegrass Festival, the Rio Grande Theatre, Goodfolks Producions, Uncle Calvin’s and the Prism Coffeehouse. 2012 will take them east to the Tidewater Friends of Folk Music, Ashland Coffee and Tea, the Jalopy Theater, the International House of Musical Traditions and the Rice Festival in November.
Steve, Chris and Anne love teaching and are available for WORKSHOPS. Trio members have been on faculty at Camp Bluegrass, Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp, Zoukfest, California Coast Music Camp and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.
“Steve Smith is undoubtedly among the best mandolin pickers in the known universe, and combined with Chris Sanders marvelous vocals and steady rhythm guitar, they light up a room like the New Mexico sun.”
“Above it all soar two impassioned singers whose individual vocal gifts are periodically transformed into choruses of alchemical harmony.”
(Mandolin, mandola, guitar, composition and vocals)
Steve Smith has been performing for nearly thirty years in about as many types of musical situations as one can imagine. He has appeared as a solo artist, bandleader, indemand sideman, session player and producer in traditional bluegrass (his first love), oldtime, Celtic, new acoustic, jazz and chamber music. His deep Virginia roots and thirty years of traveling the country give him a hard driving unique instrumental sound coupled with a powerful tenor.
Besides his recordings with Sanders and Hard Road (Meet Me by the River, Only so Fast and Signs Along the Road), he can be heard on XM Radio on cuts from Made to Last (2008), his recording with the Alan Munde Gazette. He appears on the latest release by guitarist extraordinaire Jim Hurst, A Box of Chocolates and on Bungalow by singer/songwriter Bob Einweck which he also produced.
When not working with Chris, Hard Road or the Alan Munde Gazette, Steve’s solo tours have taken him from Florida to Alaska, the Caribbean to Europe. His shows feature his smoky tenor, original tunes and unique arrangements of traditional and modern music, from delicate finger style to hard driving rhythm. Recent years have also brought appearances with Jim Hurst and the Bill Evans String Summit.
One of the premiere mandolin players in America, Steve is a well-known instructor for lessons and workshops. He maintains a busy teaching and workshop schedule that has included Zoukfest in Santa Fe, the California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp and twelve years as mandolin instructor at Camp Bluegrass.
(Vocals, composition, guitar, piano)
Chris Sanders, a Minnesota transplant who now lives in Las Cruces, NM, grew up in a musical home and inherited her grandmother’s talent for playing by ear and her mother’s life long passion for music. She toured with the Concordia Choir and worked with various bands in Colorado and the San Francisco Bay Area, taking a detour along the road to get a masters degree in vocal performance and raise a family. While teaching voice at New Mexico State University, she directed and arranged for the vocal group Cider Jazz. However, it was Steve Smith who gave her the opportunity to get back on the road and develop as a songwriter. Since 2004 their modern/retro string band "Hard Road" has appeared at concerts and festivals throughout the country. Chris also performs in a jazz duo with guitarist Bob Hull. In the fall of 2008 she became a voice teacher in the Commercial Music program at the University of Texas at El Paso where she directs the UTEP Jazz Singers. In her long and diverse career she has performed in recital as singer and pianist and co-founded "Actors' Training Project", a dramatic arts program in the San Francisco Bay Area. In February of 2008 the musical "We Are Enron", which she co-wrote, premiered to packed houses at NMSU. She has taught at Hill Country Acoustic Camp, appearing at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2009, and will be on the faculty at Camp Bluegrass in 2010. She counts Neil Semer and Dede Wyland as major teaching influences.
Bassist Anne Luna makes her home on the shores of Lake Sumner in the cabin she inherited from her grandparents. While attending South Plains College where she received her AA in Commercial Music (2004), Anne was voted Female Instrumentalist of the Year for two consecutive years. To complement her instruction at SPC, Anne studied classical bass techniques at Texas Tech University (where she earned a degree in biology!). She has recorded with Alan Munde, Kenny Maines and Amanda Shires and performed with the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band, Doctor Skoob and the Acoustic Groove, the April Verch Band, Steve Smith and Hard Road, and Hot Foot Toby. Her playing has been described as graceful, elegant and at the same time, hard-driving. As an instructor, her energy and easy-going manner create a welcoming atmosphere for students. Catch her anchoring the groove and singing sweet harmonies with the Hard Road Trio!