Born in Michigan, Alex was exposed to music at an early age through his father's James Brown and B.B. King albums. He started to play music in grade school by trying the violin but soon switched to trumpet. By age 15, he had picked up his first guitar; he says, “as soon as I started playing guitar I couldn't put it down, it just fit." Notably, Alex started playing guitar while living in “guitar town”--Waukesha, Wisconsin--the birthplace of Les Paul. Alex even grew up right off of Les Paul Parkway! After taking up guitar, Alex began studying under Michael Coleman, and began playing professionally at age 18. He continued to play with Michael Coleman and the Backbreakers until Michael's untimely passing in November 2014.
In addition to Michael Coleman, Alex has formally studied guitar under the instruction of Harry Hmura and Geoff Howard, among others.
While still in high school, Alex formed a Blues Club which led to the Alex Smith Whiteshoes Blues Band that played at local area bars. In Milwaukee, he also played with bands such as Harvey Westmoreland, Charles Walker, Kenny J, Misha Sigfreid, Robert Allen, Jr., and Jared James Nichols. Alex moved to Chicago at age 20 to pursue music study at Columbia College Chicago, where he graduated in 2015 with a BA in Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music. While in Chicago, he performed at several well-known venues, including Buddy Guy’s Legends, Kingston Mines, BLUES on Halsted, Rosa’s Lounge, Harlem Avenue Lounge, and the Underground Wonder Bar. He has shared the stage with music luminaries such as Buddy Guy, Eddy Shaw, Merle Perkins, Nelly Tiger Travis, Carl Weathersby, Fernando Jones, JW Williams, Frank Donaldson, Harry Hmura, Pistol Pete, James Armstrong, Mud Morganfield, Anthony Gomes, Big Llou Johnson, Pete Galaneous, JW Williams, and Vince Willis.
Like his mentors before him, Alex provides instruction and guidance to younger musicians. Since 2012, he has taught as a guest instructor at the Fernando Jones’ International Blues Kids Camps in Chicago and Miami.
Alex traveled to Italy in February 2016, where he collaborated in Lampedusa with Damiano Della Torre (who appears as a keyboardist on the new ‘Wishbone’ CD) and in Milan with harmonica talent Giulio Brouzet. He also taught a guitar masterclass at the Accademia Musicale Valsassina in Barzio.
During his free time, Alex enjoys recording his own music and collaborating on projects with others. You can hear some of his recordings at https://soundcloud.com/alex-smith-21. He also enjoys playing his G&L Comanche and Ibanez RG8 BK 8-string guitars.
Special thanks – Alex would like to thank his parents, sisters, and other family members, as well as Greg Griffin of Bad Religion and Sugar Blue for their inspiration, guidance, and encouragement.