Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Musician Not Fixated on Fame; Arlington Rocker Kent Smedley Has a New Solo CD

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Musician Not Fixated on Fame; Arlington Rocker Kent Smedley Has a New Solo CD

Article excerpt

Byline: KAY DAY

Kent Smedley's new solo CD Whispered Dreams doesn't fit into a tidy description.

Smedley says the lyrics and scores he composed for all the original songs are "acoustic, sort of Dan Fogerty style, and the vocals fit '80s hard rock." A careful listen will also reveal classical, Spanish and occasional heavy metal tones.

The popular guitarist, whose studio is in Mandarin and who lives in Arlington, formed his playing and teaching styles from a wide range of influences. At age 4, he says, he began playing the guitar under the supervision of his father, an accomplished trumpet player. As he grew older, Smedley said he studied classical guitar under several teachers, including the legendary Jack Peterson, founder of the guitar programs at Berklee music college in Boston, and the University of North Texas.

In 1988, Smedley founded the hard rock band Prodigy, and after the group's first album was released, Prodigy opened shows for Megadeth, Pantera, Yngwie Malmsteen and many others. In 1990, Prodigy received the top award for heavy metal bands from Jam magazine.

Smedley says the band suffered "internal tensions" and split up. Smedley went on to record with Kitae, and played in bands like Manic Expression and Spicoli's Dream. When he wasn't creating his own music or performing, he was teaching.

Smedley has taught more than 1,000 students. Terry Balsamo, guitarist for Cold and Evanescence, and James MacDonough, former Megadeth bassist, are among those he instructed.

At this point in his career, he says, "I got frustrated with the band situation." A solo album seemed like a good fit for his goals.

"This way, I can make sure it's done the way I want it. I had the material and I thought it would be fun."

At a recent performance at House of Jam on St. Augustine Road, Smedley demonstrated his versatility. Songs like Take It Easy by the Eagles reflect a well-trained voice and expert guitar picking.

On the Whispered Dreams, Smedley takes his guitar to a new level. Before the Fall from Grace, for example, features intricate chords and picking in a complex score, while The Lives We Touch rests on yet another unique and complex combination of chords and notes, with the gentle feel of a lullaby. …

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