Shinola Creek is a collective of nine musicians who have gathered in Rappahannock County, Virginia in various combinations, bands, jam sessions and recording projects for the last fifty years. Ours is a diverse and heartfelt sound, rooted in decades of playing folk, blues, rock, funk, jazz, classical and reggae, around the globe, in concert halls, bars and log cabins; in cities and hollers; alone and together; on back porches and trailer beds, and always late into the night.
In 2007, the bulk of the group began a regular jam session, which quickly took on a transcendent, sacred quality. We showed up as individuals, pulling worn black instrument cases and music binders out of the backs of hatchbacks and pickup trucks, but then almost instantly dissolved into the sounds of the collective. Not wanting to rush into anything, we gathered privately, from time to time, for eleven years before naming ourselves Shinola Creek in February, 2018 and playing our first gig. That evening, the audience of about 80 locals crammed into every corner of Central Coffee Roasters and spilled out onto the front and back patios. The feedback we heard was that it was a “special” and “magical” and “rare” night, which suits us just fine, as those are just the adjectives that we use to describe what we feel when we gather and play.
Robert "Smiggy" Smith
(Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter) ~ As a child, Smiggy was fascinated with the piano, banjo and guitar. In his first band in Scotland, Smiggy played clubs and concerts. Later he toured as a guitarist with several recording acts, including Writing on the Wall, Blue, The Dingoes, and toured with Buffy Sainte-Marie as her pianist. He worked as a recording engineer with The Jerry Garcia Band, Journey, David Soul, Juice Newton, and toured with Robin Trower as his sound mixer. After moving to Rappahannock County, Virginia in the 1970's, he played with and recorded dozens of outfits, including The OK's, Deacon Brodie, and No Big Deal. These days, he plays regularly with Mandalele (folk), The Dubious Brothers (pop and funk), and Sixling Twin (blues and rock).
(Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter) ~ Shahin’s love for music started when he was a teenager living in Tehran, jamming rock, jazz and blues with his friends. While a student at American University (D.C.), Shahin played in several bands including Amsterdam and Feast or Famine and opened for many nationally touring acts including Spyro Gyra, The Psychedelic Furs, and Marshall Crenshaw. A few years later, Higher Octave Music signed and recorded 6 records with the world music duo Shahin & Sepehr. One record landed at #6 on the Billboard charts, another was nominated for album of the year by the National Association of Independent Record Labels. Shahin's music has been featured on CNN, BBC, and NPR's "All Things Considered.” His most recent collaboration, “Infinite Chill” spent 33 weeks on the smoothjazz.com radio chart (2016).
(Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, Songwriter) ~ Vincent started his first band, The Surfers, in elementary School. In high school and beyond, he played music with friends and performed acoustic solo gigs at small venues in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valleys. In 1983, he joined Rappahannock County's Tonight’s Menu and jammed with members of The OK’s at all night music marathons. Over the ensuing years he played guitar and sung (his own songs, others’ songs) in ten bands. Some of his original songs are recorded on the 1993 Venus Jones album, Somebody like You.
(Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter) ~ Forrest plays guitar and pedal steel and a variety of other instruments, both traditional and invented of his own design. He performs regularly in Virginia and along the east coast, with the Gold Top County Ramblers, Madonnas in a Field, Sixling Twin, Henry, and Shinola Creek. For the last eight years, he has engineered his own and others’ music at his recording studio, Forest Floor Studios, including Daniel Bachman (Oh be Joyful and Jesus I’m a Sinner), Fog (Fog), The Gold Country (Lust and Larceny), Mary Sherman Willis (Caveboy), and five albums for his various bands.
(Bass) ~ Terry has been living and playing music in Rappahannock County since 1970. Although originally from Colorado, he spent most of his life, and raised three children, among the diverse igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Blue Ridge. He has played with The Timberline Flyers, OK's, Big Bristols, Sixling Twin, and Shinola Creek.
(Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter) ~ Miranda studied guitar with Val Mackend in NYC in the late 1990’s while getting an MFA (Theatre) at Columbia University. She moved to beloved Rappahannock County and wrote songs in a log cabin near Flint Hill, VA. In 2008, she had the great honor of recording 10 original songs on her first record "Leaving Eden” with Mack Starks in Nashville, Tennessee. Her song, “Wait My Turn” was featured on NPR.
(Guitar, Songwriter, Producer) ~ Mack once sang, wrote songs and played guitar for a band called Farmer Not So John, which started in Durango, Colorado in the early 90’s. Farmer moved to Nashville TN, and released two LPs in the late 1990s on Compass Records, making it onto the then-fledgling Americana charts. Mack then recorded and released two solo projects, “Elsewhere” (2003) and “Blind Spot” (2006). In 2008 he produced, engineered, and performed on Miranda Hope’s album “Leaving Eden.” Mack plays live shows in Nashville and has a new record in the works. He has jammed with the Shinola Creek crew several times over the years.
(Drums, Percussion, Harmonica, Vocals) ~ Drew grew up playing drums in rock bands, but his musical world vastly expanded when he joined Fort Lewis College’s big band jazz ensemble. He also played in small jazz combos, as well as funk, fusion, reggae, blues, and country bands. In 1995, Drew co-produced and played on “Join Hands Without Guns,” recorded at NPR’s Studio 1A. He performed as a session drummer on John Prince’s “Trop Bop I,” and he maintained a consistent presence in the San Diego, California music scene with his cowpunk band, The Desolators. In Rappahannock County, Drew recorded and performed live with Stick ‘Em Up, Rude Rock Family, That Muthersbaugh Gang, Hard Rain, Deacon Brodie, and No Big Deal. Currently, he plays with the Gold Top County Ramblers, Henry, and Shinola Creek. He also dabbles in playing the mandolin, bass, harmonica, and cajon.
(Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter) ~ Sounds as diverse as the American landscape -- folk, rock, blues, country, jazz, soul, bluegrass, reggae, and punk -- all come together in Frank’s own unique sound. As a child, he performed in musicals and toured churches with a youth singing group. As a teenager, he put his hands on a guitar and developed a life-long love for the instrument. He studied music, voice, writing and recording, then traveled around the U.S., Mexico and Canada with his guitar, contemplating issues of the day, searching for inspiration, feeding his passion for live performance as art and expression. Frank has played with various members of Shinola Creek for decades, recording and performing in Venus Jones and Stick ‘Em Up.
(Banjo, Dobro) ~ Jonathan has been picking strings in Rappahannock County since his teens. For two years, he wore his banjo daily, called it his “banjo necklace,” a practice he recommends for anyone wanting to speed up the acquisition of musical skills. He has played with the Gold Top County Ramblers, Henry, and Shinola Creek. Jonathan also designs and builds his own amplifiers in Gid Brown Hollow.