Steve Smith, Anne Luna and Chris Sanders are The Hard Road Trio, original southwestern acoustic music at the crossroads of Roots and Bluegrass. Where The Trio sound is even greater than the sum of these parts:
perfect harmonies, stunning mandolin playing and award winning song writing.
Life-long musicians Steve Smith (vocals, mandolin, mandola and guitar) and Chris Sanders (vocals and guitar) are joined by emerging artist Anne Luna (vocals and bass), capturing audiences across the country with the depth of their songwriting and the power of their distinctive voices. Their music grows from Steve’s love of bluegrass rooted in his native Virginia, the beauty of choral singing ever-present in Chris’ Minnesota childhood and the tradition of music in Anne’s New Mexico family. Together, their Southwestern blend of Roots and Bluegrass music provides a unique heartbeat and lilt underscored by Anne’s driving and elegant bass. Their “perfect harmonies” (Audiophilereview.com) are “…delivered with a sense of connection and joy, both in the music and in sharing of it.” (Kerry Dexter, Wandering Educators)
Appearances by the Trio include Tucson’s Desert Bluegrass Festival, Pickin’ in the Pines, Bighorn Mountain Festival, Swallow Hill in Denver, Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, Black Rose Acoustic Society, Wildflower Concerts, Albuquerque Folkfest, Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage, Rice Festival, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass as well as an official showcase at FAR West in Oct. ’12. In The Hard Road Trio + Bill Evans, The Trio joins forces with an extraordinary banjo player (and Steve’s former Cloud Valley band mate) – shows in 2013 included the Mammoth and Santa Fe Bluegrass festivals and High Mountain Hay Fever in CO. Steve has also played and recorded with Jim Hurst, Missy Raines and the Alan Munde Gazette. Steve, Chris and Anne continue to be in demand as teachers and clinicians (Camp Bluegrass, HCamp, California Coast Music Camp, Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp and Zoukfest).
Steve Smith is not only known as one of this country’s top mandolin players but also as an outstanding educator. Steve has been on faculty at the California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Music Camp, Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp, Zoukfest and Camp Bluegrass (for sixteen years running). Smith has appeared at festivals and venues including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, High Mountain Hay Fever, Rocky Grass, Swallow Hill, Freight and Salvage, Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, the Big Horn Mountain Festival, and the Minnesota Old-time and Bluegrass Festival. With the Las Cruces Symphony he has performed works of William Grant Still and Gershwin. Along with thirty years of coast to coast touring, Smith has performed in Ireland, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Cuba and the US Virgin Islands. He has also performed in musical theater in Cotton Patch Gospel (multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and actor) and the Robber Bride Groom; he composed and performed the score for a production of the Sam Shepard play Curse of the Starving Class. Steve has appeared on over 30 albums as performer and producer including guitar legends Jim Hurst, Mitch Perry, banjoist Bill Evans, Alan Munde and Tim O’Brien. His music has been heard on countless radio stations across the US and on the Discovery Channel, The History Channel and even the Weather Channel.
Music and music education have been the focus of Chris’ life and work. With the advantages of excellent public school music programs and a musical home as a foundation, Chris received her BA in music education (with a minor in French) from Concordia College, Moorhead. She toured nationally and internationally with the Concordia Choir. She also holds a MA in vocal performance from Cal State East Bay. Her diverse career has included teaching music at the junior high level, directing church choirs, playing keyboards in casual bands and delivering singing telegrams. She co-founded the Actor’s Training Project in Oakland, CA, a program integrating voice, acting and movement. Initially working as a piano accompanist at New Mexico State University, she went on to become a vocal professor there. Chris also taught commercial music at the University of Texas at El Paso, acting as director of vocal jazz ensembles at both universities. She has truly come into her own as performer and songwriter since turning 50. Singing and playing guitar with the Hard Road ensembles (duo, trio and full band), she has traveled the country performing at top acoustic venues and festivals. Her songs have won three New Mexico Music Awards and she collaborated in writing a fully staged musical called We Are Enron produced by Emmy award winner Mark Medoff. She has acted as clinician and judge for solo and choral competitions and taught at acoustic music camps including Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp. In 2014 Chris and The Hard Road Trio will debut their own music camp at the Black Range Lodge in the Gila National Forest.
Although “that thing’s bigger’n she is”, Anne Luna makes playing the bass look easy. Having the good fortune of being raised in a musical family, Anne has been toting her bass to jams, festivals, and gigs for over half her life. 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. With The Hard Road Trio, she has taught at Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp, Camp Bluegrass, and several workshops across the country. She also teaches private lessons. She has performed at Tucson’s Desert Bluegrass Festival, Mammoth Bluegrass Festival, High Mountain Hay Fever, Santa Fe Old Time and Bluegrass Festival, Black Hills Bluegrass Festival, Bluegrass on the Green, The Rice Festival, Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage, and Poor David’s Pub in Dallas. Her playing has been described as graceful, elegant and at the same time, hard-driving. As a writer and vocalist, she brings a unique voice to round out the Trio. As an instructor, her energy and easy-going manner create a welcoming atmosphere for students.