Richard Smith first met his hero, the "Godfather" of fingerstyle guitar, Chet Atkins, when he was only eleven. Richard was invited by Chet to share the stage with him at Her Majesty's Theatre in London in front of an audience of 1,000. At first, the master accompanied him, but later on he just listened in stunned silence while the child played Chet's own arrangements -- perfectly. By the time Richard reached his early twenties, both Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed began to refer to him as their "Hero".
It's no surprise, that the hymns of praise subsequently never faded. Richard has toured the world as a solo artist, with his brothers Rob and Sam as the Richard Smith Guitar Trio and with his swing band, The Hot Club of Nashville, featuring Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Pat Bergeson on guitar and Charlie Chadwick on bass. Fellow guitar wizard Tommy Emmanuel prefers Richard Smith as one of his favourite duet partners. In 2001, Richard became the National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion in Winfield, Kansas. He has been a mainstay at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention in Nashville since 1991, where he has played with many world renowned artists including Nato Lima of Los Indios Tabajaras, sax legend Boots Randolph and John Jorgenson of Desert Rose Band and Elton John Band fame.
He has also performed with other great musicians such as Marcel Dadi, Tommy Tedesco, Thom Bresh, Joe Pass, Bireli Lagrene, Bryan Sutton, Les Paul, Mark O'Connor, Sam Bush, Martin Taylor, Jorge Morel, Suzy Bogguss, Muriel Anderson, Guy Van Duser, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Tony McManus and Buster B. Jones and shared the bill with a host of others, most notably Steve Morse, Albert Lee, Paco Pena, Barney Kessel, David Russell and Johnny Hiland.