Steve White and I have been friends for over thirty years and have been playing music together for almost as long. I write many of the songs, sing, and play guitar; Steve sings harmony and plays the mandolin, slide-mandolin, and fiddle. While he has a natural rapport with any string instrument, Steve stands out from the crowd when playing the mandolin. We started billing ourselves as Smiley and the Lovedawg quite a while ago when we found ourselves playing out primarily as a duo act. Throughout the last few years, our friend, Leslie Gengozian has been joining us to sing and play violin.
We play a somewhat eclectic mix of acoustic folk, rock, bluegrass, blues, rags, and older country interspersed with as many of our own songs as the audiences will bear at the bars, weddings, festivals, coffeehouses, and house parties we play. We probably sound like the East Tennessee valley where we're all from - melodies, rhythms, and images from Appalachia mixed with the sensibilities and concerns of factory towns, polluted and otherwise affected by a variety of outside influences.
Steve and I have released two CDs, “Smiley and the Lovedawg” and “Off On Exit 65”. The Exit 65 referred to in the second CD’s title is a long running, though currently on hiatus, folk-rock band Steve and I have played in since 1986. Some of the members of Exit 65 played on several of the songs on “Off On Exit 65”. Both of our CDs are available via CD Baby.com.
At a typical show we will play several of the songs from both of these CDs, some new ones, a few standards from a variety of genres, and a few traditional tunes. We are always happy to tailor our set lists to meet the needs of the audience and promoter, but any music we play tends to come out sounding like Smiley and the Lovedawg. As I once wrote in a song, “You get what you got to do what you do; I gotta be me, you get to be you.” And I think that’s a good thing.
- Chris Durman (aka “Smiley”)