DID YOU KNOW???
- Mountain Smoke started as a casual Folk / Bluegrass band in 1973.
- For the most part, the band consisted of upstanding professional people, not professional musicians!
- First big gig was at Steak and Ale in OKC.
- Mountain Smoke was at the FIRST Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield! They performed in a campground far from the paid entertainers! However, band members and eventually the band (first performance in 2006) developed a connection to Winfield.
- Band member Jimmy Gyles won the 1st and 2nd "National Flatpicking Guitar Championship" at Winfield before joining the band in 1976.
- Band member David Coe placed 3rd in the 1974 Fiddle contest. Some dude named Mark O'Connor won 1st place!
- A year after joining Mountain Smoke, Billy Perry Jr. placed 3rd in the Banjo contest.
- Mountain Smoke actually opened for KISS in OKC in 1976. You might have heard it didn't go over that well...
- Mountain Smoke was invited to play an Inaugural Ball for Jimmy Carter in 1977 - We turned it down for a previously booked gig in Vail Colorado.
- Later that spring, we were invited to play at the very first "White House Lawn Party" of the Carter administration. We definitely did not turn that down!!!
- Speaking of Vail...In 1976 -77 the band played week long gigs in Winter Park, Vail, Aspen, and Crested Butte - We made good money, had free rooms, free food, free liquor, and free ski equipment. All we had to pay was $10 - $15 for lift tickets!!!
- In the early '80's Mountain Smoke was joined by three top Nashville musicians: Jim Buchanan & Jerry Lyn Reid (fiddle and guitar) from Mel Tillis' Statesiders) and Stan Chase (drums) who had been with Billie Jo Spears.
- Mountain Smoke was featured in the lead-in song "Another Dusty Road" in the 1982 film "Savannah Smiles" with Randy Sanders featured on lead vocal.
- In 2019, Mountain Smoke was featured along with Vince Gill in Ken Burns' Country Music documentary. Photos, along with a snippet of "July Your A Woman" from the Blue Ridge Album was a part of the Don't Get Above Your Raisin's episode.
The band has had a few members go on to greener pastures -
- Rusty Swanson was the band's first fiddle player. He has travelled the world and has ended up in Texas, staying busy playing music. He has played with some of the big names in the Texas music scene as well as Nashville acts since the late '70's.
- David Coe, the second fiddle player left the band in 1975 to work with local great John Arnold. He moved to Nashville in 1986 and joined Michael Martin Murphy's Rio Grande band. He is known for Irish fiddle music and is part of the "Is It a Fiddle or a Violin" series put together by the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Country Music HOF and Museum. He and another Nashville musician does a presentation for K-5th grade students introducing them to music performing arts.
- Jim Hochanadel deserves "Honorary" Mountain Smoke member status as he contributed his harp and piano skills on our first two albums. "Jim Hoke" (as he is known in Nashville) is a sought after player that can play almost anything, including pedal steel guitar.
- Vince Gill was a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist in 1974 -1976. His insights and talents took the band to the next level of notoriety and popularity during that time. Not only did the fans appreciate him, other musicians did as well...When auditioning for Pure Prairie League, they remembered him from a concert that Smoke opened for them in Norman! If you want to see what else Vince has been up to, type his name into the Google search bar and if you have several hours, you will see!
- Bruce Eagle was an amazing talented vocalist and musician, but even before he joined the band he was also an amazingly talented commercial artist! You have seen his work not knowing it was his airbrush skills...Movie posters such as Alladin, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, White Fang, Rocketeer, and the 1989 Batman logo. Also, select 7-Up, Joe Camel and many other commercial products. His Fantasy and Sci-Fi themed art is still available online. Sadly, Bruce passed away in 2013.
Mountain Smoke has developed "ALTER EGO" bands over the years -
- In the '80's Smoke brought in other personnel and started the band "The Stars" and performed 60's, 70's & 80's music including Beatles, Beach Boys, and Top 40 material. Fiddle and Steel Guitar were deleted for Stars gigs. During that time, Mountain Smoke and The Stars performed together when the booking requested country and rock!
- In the 90's and early 2000's there was a "Mountain Smoke Trio" consisting of Randy Sanders, Tom Bergman, and Dave Thomason. They did smaller venue and special occasion gigs that wanted acoustic or "roaming musician" entertainment.
- After The Stars split-up, remaining Mountain Smoke personnel again added new guys and started The Guitar Bums and later The Full Service Garage Band...kind of an Alter-Alter Ego group.
- Throughout the years, Mountain Smoke has kept an active schedule, regardless of the incarnations!