“A couple years ago I wanted to learn to make sourdough bread, as did my good friends Emilyn Stam and Alan Mackie (who also performed on this album). We enlisted the help of our friend Anne Hartman: banjo picker, instrument builder, and baker extraordinaire. Over the course of a day, Anne guided us through the subtleties of creating a good dough, shaping loaves by hand, and baking to perfection. We spent the afternoon playing old-time fiddle and banjo tunes together while we waited for the bread to rise, and since that day, the three of us have never stopped baking! We’ve also passed on our knowledge (and our sourdough starter) to other friends, and the baking and breaking of bread has come to be synonymous with care, companionship, and a love of simple pleasures. I wrote this song to express my gratitude to Anne for a gift that has continued to give.” – Nathan Smith
Growing up in North Bay, Ontario, Nathan began playing classical violin at the age of six, all the while being steeped in Irish and Canadian fiddling. While studying and playing viola in the University of Ottawa string quartet and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Nathan was also drawn to playing and singing American bluegrass music, and he eventually settled in Toronto to study Jazz and Contemporary Music at Humber College. Soon after, he began singing and playing in his own innovative bluegrass band, The Barrel Boys, who have released two original albums. A skilled and versatile musician, Nathan writes and performs his own traditionally inspired original compositions in addition to playing and singing with Western Swing outfit The Double Cuts, bluegrass dobro legend Ivan Rosenberg, and folk multi-instrumentalist Emilyn Stam.