Josh Smith was born October 7, 1979 in Middletown, Connecticut. Before he was 1, his family relocated to Florida, eventually settling in Pembroke Pines, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. At age 3, he received his first guitar and at 6, he started taking guitar lessons. Josh had exposure to the blues at an early age. He listened to a variety of artists from Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Albert King and T-Bone Walker, just to name a few. He also started going to concerts, including the Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. By the age of 12, Josh started playing at established professional blues jams in South Florida, such as Musicians Exchange Café in Fort Lauderdale and Club M in Hollywood.
When Josh was 13, the house band at Club M, the Rhino Cats, asked him to be the lead guitarist and he accepted. Musicians Exchange owner Don Cohen was so taken aback by the talent of this young musician that he offered to help manage and develop Josh’s career. The Café was renowned for bringing in the best national touring blues bands, and Josh was quick to learn how to approach these blues greats, many of whom would invite Josh to sit in with the band, thinking that it would be “novel”- a 14-year-old kid trying to play the blues. The novelty quickly wore off and was replaced by musicians stopping, watching and listening as this “kid” wailed out the blues licks better than many of the touring guitarists on the circuit. Josh began sitting in with such greats as Jimmy Thackery, Tinsley Ellis, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Double Trouble, Joanna Connor and Kim Simmonds, among others. Jimmy Thackery said of the 14-year-old, “Josh is three heartbreaks away from being a true blues guitar genius.” At 14, Josh released his first CD, Born Under a Blue Sign, and at 15, he released his second CD, Woodsheddin.
The Rhino Cats began performing all over South Florida as Josh Smith and the Rhino Cats and quickly became one of the most in-demand blues bands in the area. In 1994, Josh Smith and the Rhino Cats received the Florida Jammy Award for best blues band and were selected as XS Readers Choice Winners in 1995 for best blues band. In 1996, when Josh was a senior in high school, the national magazine “ High School Senior” put Josh on the cover and hailed him as an “Up and Coming Guitar Legend.” That same year, Washburn Guitars Int’l also recognized Josh’s talent and gave him an endorsement. They flew Josh to Chicago and guitar luthier Grover Jackson built him a custom guitar.
Although Josh was an honor student, after graduation from high school in June 1997, while his friends chose to go off to college, Josh followed his heart and his destiny and made the decision to pursue what he was best at – being a true musician. His first national tour ensued with his newly formed power trio format, Josh Smith and the Frost. Josh was now the band leader and the main vocalist, so he not only had to develop his guitar chops, but also had to concentrate on his vocal prowess. In September 1997, Josh enlisted world-renowned producer Jim Gaines, whose credits include Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Luther Allison, Steve Miller and Jimmy Thackery, to produce his third CD, Too Damn Cold.
By 1998, Josh had completed four national tours with his own band. In January 1998, Billboard Magazine took note of the rising young talent in a Continental Drift article. In February 1998, Josh was asked to support B.B. King on a number of theatre dates. In March 1998, the TV show Chicago Hope purchased the rights to the tune “32 degrees” from “Too Damn Cold.” An international CD release, “The Mentos Freshmaker Tour,” included the title cut, “Too Damn Cold,” in the spring of 1998.
Josh toured nationally all of 1999 and in October of that year, he entered the recording studio again with Jim Gaines and produced Woman, his fourth CD. This CD was released and well received in the spring of 2000. Josh continued to tour the East Coast from New York to Florida through 2001 with his band. In June 2002, he married and he and his wife decided to move to Los Angeles. Josh was ready for something new and he wanted to be around a variety of music. He also thought it would be good to try being a sideman.
Within a year of moving to L.A., he was retained by Virgin recording artist Ricky Fante. He played nationally and internationally with Ricky for the next two years.
In May 2006, Josh recorded his fifth CD, Deep Roots. A more traditional blues CD, his music was once again well received by Blueswax and Blues Revue magazine. Josh also continued to play with a variety of artists, such as actress Taryn Manning, Universal hip-hop artist Benny Cassette and Tara Ellis, to name a few. In January 2007, Josh was hired by 2006 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks to be his lead guitarist. They have completed two national tours over the last seven months.
Josh continues to live in the Los Angeles area with his wife and two children.