Meet Appalachian Smoke

Behind the Music

"A symphony of understated talent spun in a futuristic looking CD player for the 56th time. This group could get by on vocal abilities alone, but every member was also a master instrumentalist. Timing raced. Vocals soared with ease. Fiddles spoke. I was dumbfounded at 10 hearing Mountain Heart's 'The Journey.' Many bluegrass bands from that time have inspired me with their levels of skill and willingness to chat with their consumers, and I strive for the same inspiring astonishment I felt 20 years ago with our current collaboration: Appalachian Smoke."

-Tim Williams

Appalachian Smoke has found a sound reminiscent of the hollers they grew up in and yet quick and varied enough to push the envelope. Its made up of five songwriters, vocalists, and instrumentalists that are honored to sing about the history and ways of their home.

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BJ Taylor

Vocals / Mandolin

The mandolinist extroadinaire contributes a large amount of the lyrics that you hear on this project. He hails from the Nantahala community of Western NC where he began playing at the age of twelve.  Bill Monroe, being his first influence, was later joined by Wayne Benson to produce the unmistakable style of BJ's playing. BJ thanks his wife, Haylee, and his family for all their support.

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Jamie Mason

Vocals / Guitar / Banjo

Appalachian Smoke couldn’t have asked for a greater vocal talent than Jamie Mason. Jamie lends his lead voice to the group, as well as harmony, guitar, and occasional banjo. Originally from Culberson, NC, he has been making bluegrass music for 30 years now. Jamie recognizes improvement is unlikely if not impossible except with the support of others and thanks all that have helped him over the years.

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Kenneth Rymer

Vocals, Dobro

Kenneth Rymer comes from Crandall, GA with some 30 years of serious musical ability; lonesome slides and high tenor. He models his harmony after Doyle Lawson's foundational work. Dobro is just one of the many instruments Kenneth plays. "I'd like to thank the good Lord. Without Him, I would not be where I am!"

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Mikel Laws

Vocals / Banjo / Guitar

You will never hear Mikel use the word banjo. He says "banjer" and he means it. Mikel is an integral part of the band with his hard driving banjo playing, lead and harmony vocals, occasional guitar, and songwriting. A range from Earl Scruggs to Ron Block comes out of his Gibson. Mikel comes from Bryson City, NC, has been playing since he was 16, and was most influenced by his late great uncle, Teddy Greene. Mikel thanks his family and friends for always pushing him.

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Tim Williams

Vocals / Upright Bass

From the grand metropolis of Robbinsville, NC, Tim began playing music and singing harmony at the age of ten. You'll mainly hear him in the bass playing of the tracks, but he more subtly shines in the arrangement of these songs. Tim picks up influence from such bassists as Jason Moore, Tim Surrett, and Barry Bales.