Stuart Smith did not come up through the typical rock ‘n roll ranks of his contemporaries. The British-born guitarist was initially compelled to follow his father into the Royal Air Force as a jet pilot. But then someone gave him guitar and someone else took him to a Deep Purple concert, and his plans were significantly altered. In an unprecedented manner, Smith was not restricted to simply being a “fan” of Deep Purple; he actually befriended them and was soon being personally mentored by the one and only Ritchie Blackmore.
During the 70s, Smith bent strings with numerous groups before forming Sidewinder, who toured extensively throughout Europe. That was as far as it went. Then in 1983, at the urging of Blackmore, Smith relocated to New York for riper opportunities. After three years gigging around Long Island, the guitarist headed west to Los Angeles where he aligned himself with a fraternity of local and British musicians, including Keith Emerson and Sweet. It was when Smith was with Sweet that the seeds for Heaven & Earth were planted.
In 1999, Smith recruited friends like guitarist Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), singer Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), bassist and singer Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), drummer Camine Appice (Vanilla Fudge), guitarist Howard Leese (Heart), singer Kelly Hansen (Foreigner), bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) and drummer Richie Onari (Sweet) to record the critically acclaimed Stuart Smith’s Heaven & Earth. Subsequent Heaven & Earth releases Windows to the World, featuring former Blue Murder vocalist Kelly Keeling, and an EP A Taste of Heaven, helped to advance Smith’s musical vision.
Now, with Dig in the can, the guitarist says Heaven & Earth is a true band, an energized collective of like-minded musicians, excited at bringing its unique, celestial brand of classic rock to audiences all over the world in 2013.
“All the pieces are in place,” he explains with graceful candor. “We’re ready to make this our year.”