Montrose, WV (Mandolin)
Karl Smakula, 22, has been playing for 10 years, and is currently studying Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music at East Tennessee State University. Karl had a couple options for his happiest musical experience, and couldn’t pick just one. He says, “It’s a tie between the first time I ever witnessed Del McCoury G-Run (Bristol, TN 2013) and watching my number one celebrity crush Kacey Musgraves from the front row of a ¾ empty basketball arena (Cullowhee, NC 2014).” A couple talents that Karl wishes he had are stronger harmony vocals and the ability to play pedal steel.
Karl’s musical influences include his father Bob Smakula, Adam Steffey, Ronnie McCoury, Herschel Sizemore, Paul David Smith, Will Smith, Larry Sparks, Ed Snodderly, and Sam McGee. If he could meet any musician, living or dead, it would be George Jones. Karl explains, “Cause he’s the best. His songs and his soul really resonate with me, and I’d like to thank him.” In other musicians, he most values a sense of fun, balanced with dedication and good timing. Karl’s advice to younger musicians is learn to say yes. He says, “Take whatever gigs come your way, even if they sound dumb or unfulfilling. Also, learn to sing harmony.” At AMS, Karl is most looking forward to meeting all of the musicians. He says, “I can’t wait to get humbled by these ridiculous talents that we have the privilege of getting to work with.”
Enjoy Karl’s original piece Minibomb below:
Be sure to check out Karl and all of the AMS musicians at the Lucas Theatre on April 8 at the Stringband Spectacular!
Stay tuned to meet more AMS musicians!