Jesse Smathers Releases “Yesterday’s Blues”

Article Contributed by Rainwater Poster Co. | Published on Wednesday, February 23, 2022

“Nothing in the World to Do,” Jesse Smathers’ debut single as a solo artist, recently made its first appearance on the Bluegrass Today weekly charts. Hot on its heels, Smathers announces the release of a second single, “Yesterday’s Blues.”

A native of Eden, North Carolina, Smathers now resides in Floyd, Virginia. He’s a full-time member of seminal Southwest Virginia group Lonesome River Band, and a music instructor at the Handmade Music School - where he met fellow instructor and songwriter Andrew Small.

“When I moved to Southwest Virginia, I made friends with Andrew,” Smathers explains. “He’s a tremendous talent, whose musical tastes are very much in line with mine. As I was picking out tunes for the album, I put a lot of thought into choosing songs that are authentic. On a whim, I asked Andrew if he had any tunes. He shared ‘Yesterday’s Blues’ with me, and it was an instant decision: this tune would be on the project.”

The hard-driving tune features Jesse on guitar and vocals, with instrumental support from bassist Joe Hannabach, banjoist Johnathan Dillon, and fiddler Jason Carter. Harmony vocals are provided by Heather Berry Mabe and Jessie Baker, the latter of whom also plays mandolin on the track.

To Smathers, “Yesterday’s Blues” has all the hallmarks of a classic bluegrass song: “It covers a topic bluegrass can cover like no other genre: heartache.” And he isn’t alone in that sentiment. Writer Andrew Small submitted “Yesterday’s Blues” into the 2021 Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest in 2021 - shortly after Smathers recorded the tune. It took first place in the bluegrass category.

“I knew all along this tune was a must-have for my project,” Smathers concludes. “I am excited for you to hear it!”

“Yesterday’s Blues” releases to streaming on Friday, February 18th. Fans can pre-save on Spotify here. Interested DJ’s can download the track on AirPlay Direct. DJ's who do not use AirPlay Direct are encouraged to reach out via the press contact information below.


Hailing from Eden, North Carolina, Jesse Smathers comes from a long line of musicians. His grandfather, Harold Smathers, and grand uncle Luke Smathers, recorded for June Appal and were awarded the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1993 for their contributions to North Carolina Folk Music. Jesse began playing the guitar at age 11, mandolin at 15, and was heavily influenced by the music around him in his youth. In 2009, he won the guitar championship of the Virginia Folk Music Association. The following year, after graduation, he began his career as a touring musician with the James King Band on mandolin and vocals, and later rejoined the band performing guitar and vocals.

Jesse joined Nothin’ Fancy in 2014. The same year, he was also inducted into Phi Mu Alpha, a music fraternity, as a Sinfonian - joining such greats as John Phillip Sousa, Count Bassie, Duke Ellington, and Andy Griffith. In 2015, Lonesome River Band welcomed him to the group as a vocalist and mandolin player, and in 2017, Jesse won the IBMA Momentum Award for Vocalist of the Year! After the departure of Brandon Rickman from the Lonesome River Band, Jesse switched over to guitar duties in 2021.

Jesse’s debut album as a solo artist is slated for release in May 2022.


Maggie Rainwater

Rainwater Poster Co. 

[email protected]