Olivia Smiley & Main Street



Indianapolis Business Journal
  Sept. 14, 2011

Legendary picker Earl Scruggs performs as part of the Palladium's bluegrass series Sept. 16.  Opening for him is fiddling champion Olivia Smiley.  For more details.......

January 25, 2010 - by Sarah Murrell

    Olivia Smiley might have stood out in the beginning because she's one of few fiddlers in a skirt and lipstick - and she is pretty, blonde and both the front woman of her band Main Street and the only female member.  But, in the end, it's her music that's far more remarkable. .....In a 2006 interview with Bluegrass Now, Smiley confessed to dreaming of fiddling with bluegrass legend Larry Sparks.  Three years later, she realized it, playing for Sparks in 2009, from Bean Blossom to Galax, Virginia. (entire review on music page.) 

July 6, 2009 - by John Lawless

      Larry Sparks just sent along a photo of his latest edition of The Lonesome Ramblers, taken this past weekend at the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival in Morgantown, NC.  Larry is taking a larger group out this summer, including a couple of talented young pickers.  Fiddler Olivia Smiley, who also fronts her own group, surely speaks for the whole band regarding Sparks' place in bluegrass.  
     "Larry Sparks has always been one of my favorite bluegrass artists because he has a sound all his own.  He's got such a soulful voice and is able to pick out the perfect material to suit him.  It's a real honor to be working alongside a living legend."
     Traveling with Larry this summer is Carl Berggren on mandolin, his son Eli Berggren on guitar, Tyler Mullins on banjo, D. Sparks on bass, Smiley on fiddle and Sparks on guitar and lead vocals.

June 2009 - by Bill Wagner

   Olivia Smiley is a young, Indiana fiddler/singer/songwriter with confidence and a wealth of talent.  This is her second recording and is backed by her band Main Street, that includes guitarist/vocalist Jeff Guernsey, banjoist Klint Brown, and bassist Kolin Brown.  Michael Cleveland guests throughout on mandolin.
   The project opens with two covers and closes with two covers.  Of those songs, the standard "We'll Meet Again Sweetheart" and the cover of Osborne and Pete Goble's "Windy City" deserve mention.  Of particular note is the arrangement of "We'll Meet Again....," on which Smiley and Guernsey trade the lead vocals.  It makes for a nice twist and is underscored by a chugging rhythmic snap.
   The true heart and interest, however, lies in the eight original and two instrumentals contributed by Smiley herself-----(the entire review available on music page) 

  February 26, 2009 - by Dan Tackett
Young Fiddler Olivia Smiley Blends Styles Well 

     Olivia Smiley has already proven herself as a fiddler, compiling more trophies from fiddle contests than you can shake a well-rosined bow at.  Now, she's on the path of proving herself as a bona fide bluegrass artist with her second CD, Bright Lights and Avenues, recorded with her backup band, Main Street.
     Then, there's guest artist Michael Cleveland, appearing on every track.  Yes, that's the same Michael Cleveland who can dazzle the finest of fiddlers with his own bow work.  But Cleveland repeats the same contribution he made to Smiley's first self-titled CD - adding mandolin tracks.  On this CD, Cleveland also shared the mix-down chores with Smiley.  . . . .
     On Bright Lights and Avenues, Smiley shows her deft skills with the bow, her voice and her songwriting abilities, having penned 9 of the CD's generous 14 tunes.  She also dredges up a couple of gems from the deep vault, the Wilburn Brothers' "Arkansas" and the great Flatt and Scruggs classic, "We'll Meet Again Sweetheart."
     Smiley's fine backup band includes guitarist Jeff Guernsey, who steps up and renders a fine lead vocal on several tracks, banjo player Klint Brown and bass player Kolin Brown.  . . . . .
     On Smiley's Web site is a list of upcoming tour dates.  It's not a long list, but I'd bet it grows.  Watch for her to come to your favorite festival - and in the interim, pick up Bright Lights and Avenues for a very listenable preview.

Bluegrass Now Magazine  
December 2007 - Wayne Bledsoe  
Olivia Smiley Adds New Fiddle Honors     

"Following her eighth-place finish at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship, and a grand championship at the Ohio State Fiddling Contest, both in 2006, Olivia Smiley took the Governor's Cup at the Official Kentucky State Fiddle Championship held each July in Leitchfield, KY.  This was Olivia's second win at the Kentucky competition, by the way; her first was in 2005.  She also won the Governor's Cup at the Official State of Indiana Picking & Fiddling Championships, held each September in Princeton, IN.    As icing on the cake, Olivia was a member of Ol' Dil, the ensemble that won the Bluegrass Band Competitions at both contests!  Her bandmates included young left-handed Alabama flatpicking champion Dillon Hodges and Indiana mandolin wiz kid Solly Burton; they were joined for the Kentucky event by young banjo champ Will McMeans.  The members of Olivia Smiley & Company are Olivia on fiddle and vocals, plus Jeff Guernsey on guitar, Danny Wert on bass, (Klint Brown on banjo and Kolin Brown on bass)."  

Evansville Courier & Press   
Sept 2, 2007   Princeton IN   

The Official State of Indiana Picking & Fiddling Championships  
"The weekend's top prize, the Governor's Cup, was won by Junior Fiddle Champion Olivia Smiley of Greensburg, Indiana . . . ."

 Grayson County News-Gazette   
July 2007   Leitchfield KY 
 "For the second time, Olivia Smiley of Greensburg IN has taken the Governor's Cup at the Official State Championship Old Time Fiddlers Contest." 

"Kentucky's 2007 fiddling champion is a 19-year-old girl from Indiana - Olivia Smiley of Greensburg.  Smiley, who scored just ahead of the other two finalists - Ed Carnes, Franklin TN, and Chuck Reeves, Oakman AL - also won the 2005 championship."
On Saturday, Olivia combined with guitar player Dillon Hodges of Alabama, mandolin player Solly Burton of Indiana and banjo picker Will McMeans of Alabama to claim the title of 2007 Kentucky State Champion Bluegrass Band.   

June 2, 2007 - Music News  
Olivia Smiley & Company Performing live on WHAS-TV Crusade for Children

"Catch Olivia Smiley & Company performing live on WHAS-TV Crusade for Children this Saturday night!  Olivia Smiley is a 19-year-old fiddler/singer/songwriter, and she just released her first, solo, all acoustic bluegrass album.  The variety show is being broadcast from the Kentucky Center for the Arts, Bomhard Theater beginning at 8:00pm . . . . . .Television:  WHAS11,Louisville;  WQWQ-TV, Paducah.  Radio:  84WHAS, Louisville; WTCO, Campbellsville;  WLBN, Lebanon; WBRT, Bardstown; WIEL, Elizabethtown; WHHT, Glasgow-Bowling Green; WTTL, Madisonville; WPKY, Princeton."  

Strings Magazine
June - July 2007 - Tiffani Martini 
2007 ASTA Alternative Styles & National Solo Competitions

"If Ed McMahon were to resurrect Star Search, he should start at the annual American String Teachers Association conference, held this year at Detroit's Renaissance Center.  There's no question that the stardust glittered at that well-attended event.  Highlights included the third biennial Alternative Styles Awards and a gala concert on March 10 with a performance by the Turtle Island Quartet.  This year's winners of the Alternative Styles Competition showed astounding talent, stage presence, and technical wizardry.  The final concert showcased several genres of music outside of the Western classical tradition, including jazz, Scottish fiddling and even rock..... Nineteen-year-old Olivia Smiley won the competitions established tradition senior division.  Smiley is a two-time Ohio State fiddle champ and a three time Indiana State Fair Champion."

Greensburg Daily News
May 2007  
The Third Annual Downtown Fiddlefest Plans Announced  

"On Friday, June 29, a special performance by Olivia Smiley and her band will kick off the event at 7:00 p.m.  Olivia was a Top Ten Finalist in the Grand Master Fiddler Championship held annually in Nashville, Tennessee.  Backing her are great musicians from all around Indiana, including Jeff Guernsey who performs on guitar and adds great vocals.  Danny Wert plays mandolin and sings lead and harmony, Klint Brown plays banjo and sings harmony, and Kolin Brown adds bass.  Each of them has played with other recognized groups around the area before and has now come together to perform as a new, up-coming group.  They always put on a tight, well-rehearsed show."

Bluegrass Music Profiles 
review by Robert Steelman    
Nov-Dec 2006 

I'll cut to the chase.  Get this one!  Newcomer Olivia Smiley has burst onto the bluegrass scene in a big way with this self-titled debut album.  Still in her teens, she demonstrates a talent as a fiddler/singer/songwriter that should be the envy of many in the music business.  As a 14-year-old, Olivia caught the eye - and ear - of Jeff Guernsey, who produced this project and provided the guitar work.  She gets some good backing from Michael Cleveland on mandolin, Brian Leaver on banjo and Lauren Guernsey on bass.  Meredith Needham provides harmony vocals.  The music is varied but tasteful, ranging from the bouncy Don't You Love Me Like That to the relaxed Mine Alone.  There's also a nice, rousing instrumental version of Don't Let Your Deal Go Down.  Other songs include Windy Day, Without a Doubt, Beside You In Your Heart, You Made My Day, Long Walk To Richmond, A Soldier's Lullaby, Road Trip, She'll Carry On and Lady Be Good.  BMP www.bluegrassmusicprofiles.com

Oct 2006   

"The Thirty-Fifth Annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship was held on September 29 and 30, 2006 in Nashville, Tennessee, during the IBMA Bluegrass Fan Fest.  The Grand Master Fiddler Championship is a showcase for some of the best fiddle players in the world.  Each year, the Contest Committee invites approximately twenty-five of the top fiddle players in North America to compete as  finalists in the contest." 
The 2006 champions were1. Tristan Clarridge, CA;   2. Tashina Clarridge, CA;  3. Luke Price, MA;  4. Dale Morris Jr., TX;  5. Kimber Ludiker, WA;  6.Alex Hargreaves, OR;  7. Tonya Hopkins, TX;  8. Olivia Smiley, IN;  9. Isaac Callender, MO;  10. Billy Contreras, TN. 

Bluegrass Now Magazine 
Sept 2006 Review
Larry Mullen

It is always a joy when accomplished young musicians select bluegrass as a venue to display their talents.  Olivia Smiley, with the release of her self titled CD, displays her amazing talents as a vocalist, musician, and songwriter.  Her fiddle talents have earned her both the Kentucky and Ohio State Fiddle Championship, the Indiana State Championship, and second place at the prestigious National Walnut Valley Festival (two times).  Olivia's self-titled CD is a "must-hear" recording for all bluegrass fans. (entire review available on Music page.)

Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine 
June 2006 Issue Reviews
Les McIntyre

 Although still in her teens, fiddler and vocalist Olivia Smiley has accomplished more in just a few years than most artists experience throughout their entire career.  Besides being a superb fiddler and dynamic lead vocalist, she has won numerous awards at various music and fiddle contests throughout the country.  . . .  . . . . .  The contents of this impressive body of music clearly establishes Olivia Smiley as one of the most promising bluegrass musicians among today's youth, and it is going to be an exhilarating experience to follow the progress of her career in the years ahead.  (entire review available on Music page)

The Athens Messenger 
Aug. 19, 2006
Nelsonville OH
Hoedown Showdown

"The Original State of Ohio Old-time Fiddlers' Championship, regarded as one of Ohio's premiere fiddling events, hit the legendary Stuart's Opera House stage - complete with rosin a flyin'.  Winning in both her age group and the championship round, 18-year-old Olivia Smiley of Greensburg, Ind., earned eligibility to compete in the prestigious National Old-time Fiddler's contest.  Olivia also won the championship in 2004."