You won't believe WHIT SMITH'S guitar playing until you witness it in person. A pre-1950s-inspired mix of Western swing, jazz and Hot Club styles, there's never an inversion too far, a pattern too tricky nor a harmony unexplored as he takes your every expectation and surpasses it. Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, Whit spent his earliest years in New Cannan, Connecticut and later Wellfleet, Massachussetts. Born to musical parents Whit was immediately exposed to a life of practicing and performing. Says Smith, “My mom and dad used to sing and play folk music every night after my dad got home from work. Every weekend my dad would spend hours sitting in front of the record player figuring out rural blues tunes by Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt. Then for a couple of years he was really big on Manitas De Plata and flamenco guitar. I still have his old records with all the notes and diagrams he drew out for himself.” By his early twenties Smith had moved to New York City, where he went on to spend the next fifteen years - his most formative years in music. Though originally self-taught on the guitar, by his teenage years he began studying with numerous teachers including guitarist Bill Connors who had been playing with Chic Corea. He also studied Classical piano with Dowell Multer who first introduced him to the rigors of harmony, melody, and chordal voicings. Beginning in 1992 Whit studied for two years in New York City with veteran New York guitarist Richard Lieberson focusing on American guitar styles from traditional jazz forms to Western and pre-1970s country. In 1994 Smith started The Western Caravan, a thirteen-piece Western Swing orchestra that continues to play to this day; everything from hoedowns to country to jazzy arrangements with triple fiddles and steel guitar. It was during this time that Smith met violinist Elana James through an ad in the music section of the Village Voice, and ultimately began the band Hot Club of Cowtown with James. Hot Club of Cowtown has been his passion and chief focus since the group released its first recordings in 1998.

ELANA JAMES grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas and began playing Suzuki violin at age four. Her mother is a professional violinist who played in the Kansas City Symphony. In junior high and high school James took every opportunity to play her violin, from busking on the streets of Westport in Kansas City on weekends, to playing in every orchestra, quartet and chamber group she could find. James is a founding member, along with Whit Smith, of the hot jazz and Western swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown. The Hot Club of Cowtown was formed after Whit and Elana met through an ad Elana placed in the music section of the Village Voice in 1994. By 1997 Elana and Whit had moved to San Diego where they spent a year putting together a repetoire and playing for tips in Balboa Park, the Ocean Beach Farmers Market, and at local coffee houses and cafes. They moved to Austin in 1998, joined up with bassist Jake Erwin in 2000, and have been touring and recording as the Hot Club of Cowtown ever since. In 2015 James was named Western Swing Female of the Year at the Ameripolitan Music Awards, held in Austin, Texas, and the Hot Club of Cowtown was awarded Western Swing Group of the Year. During a brief Hot Club of Cowtown hiatus in 2005, James became the first dedicated female instrumentalist in Bob Dylan’s touring band in more than thirty years, then toured with him in 2006 as the opening act for his United States summer tour. She released her first solo album (Elana James) in 2007 and a second solo album (Black Beauty) in 2015. In addition to tours and recording with Bob Dylan, James has also recorded with Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard and others, and has written, produced and arranged, along with bandmate Whit Smith, nine studio albums with the Hot Club of Cowtown. In 2004 she was inducted, with her Hot Club bandmates, into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. elanajames.com SPONSORED BY mark & vAL JANSEN

www.hotclubofcowtown.com SPONSORED BY mark & vAL JANSEN

FRIDAY 4:00 pm EAGLE HOUSE Hot Club of Cowtown 7:00 pm ADORNI CENTER Kings of Western Swing SATURDAY 5:30 pm EAGLE HOUSE Elana James & Friends 8:30 pm ADORNI CENTER Hot Club of Cowtown

FRIDAY 4:00 pm EAGLE HOUSE Hot Club of Cowtown 7:00 pm ADORNI CENTER Kings of Western Swing SATURDAY 4:00 pm EAGLE HOUSE Whit Smith & Friends 8:30 pm ADORNI CENTER Hot Club of Cowtown

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