Putnam Smith could be an old-world troubadour fresh from the 19th Century. After all, he plays his great-grandfather’s banjo and prints up the jackets to his CDs on an antique letterpress. Yet this rootsy multi-instrumentalist songwriter (he also writes and performs on guitar, mandolin, fretless banjo, and piano), steeped as he is in old-time Appalachian traditions, is very much a storyteller for the modern age.
Putnam first came to national attention when his sophomore release, “Goldrush,” went to #5 on the national Folk DJ Charts (and made it onto 6 “Favorite Albums of 2009” lists). His next release, “We Could Be Beekeepers, (June, 2011), shot right up the charts the month it was released, to the #2 album, with 3 songs in the top ten. Noted as “One To Watch” (Rob Reinhart, Acoustic Cafe), Putnam has been selected for an official showcase at Folk Alliance International (2012), a “formal”showcase at the NERFA Conference (2012), and as an Emerging Artist at the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (2016).
Putnam is also an extraordinary performer, whose craft at songwriting is matched only by his love for putting on a truly memorable show. Says Sarah Banks, formerly of Spuyten Duyvil: “”One of the most magical performances I’ve had the luck to attend!” Engaging folks with humor, charm, and storytelling, Putnam’s audiences have been known to howl like wolves, sing like moonshiners, and laugh and cry like, well, like human beings. Whether performing solo, or as a duo in The Early Risers with his partner, Ashley Storrow, Putnam puts on a unique and remarkable show that lingers in the heart, mind, and imagination, long after the last round of applause.
A nationally touring artist, Putnam has performed in more than 40 states from East Coast to West. Some favorite venues that Putnam has played, include: Club Passim (Boston), Rockwood Music Hall (NYC), Me and Thee Coffeehouse (Marblehead, MA), Caffe Lena (Saratoga Springs, NY), Anderson Fair (Houston, TX), Trinity House Theatre (Livonia, MI), High Plains Public Radio (Amarillo, TX), and “Gene Shay Presents” @ Psalm Salon (Philadelphia).
He lives in southern Vermont.