Joe Smyth


BIO: Joe was born on September 6, 1957, into a happy home comprised of his parents and paternal grandparents. He grew up in Westbrook, Main, a papermill town, his dad and grandfather earned their living at the mill. Joe was not to follow in their footsteps, as was the tradition of many milltown boys.

Joe had a happy childhood doing all the thing little boys do. In fifth grade he joined the elementary school band, as the drummer, and from that point on music became his love and “turn on”. With the help of several excellent instructors, Joe progressed from the street drum to his first drum kit and mallets.

During his formative years in music, Joe gained experience in the wide variety of endeavors. Along with elementary and junior high marching bands, he played in a rock group which was formed in a family basement, the school stage bands, a Dixieland jazz combo, backing a group of gospel singers, the Portland (Main) Junior Symphony Orchestra and, on occasion, with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. At the age 14, Joe did his first professional “gig”, a New Year’s Eve party at a local inn. In high school he was captain of the drum line in a large marching band that won a national championship in Miami, Florida prior to Joe’s senior year. During high school he played, get this, cello in a string quartet.

Along with music Joe excelled as a student, well rounded and active in many extra-curricular activities. He also enjoyed many happy vacations with his family, camping, canoeing, and hiking in the Main woods. A true big brother , he was both idol and tormentor of his little sister, Amy.

Joe became very accomplished on both sticks and mallets during his high school years, a true percussionist and not just a drummer. Because of this he received two scholarships to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. After four years in this fine school, Joe graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in both composition and applied music.

During his college years, Joe paid his own way by working summers behind the drum fit at a variety of jobs and with a variety of brands. He also spent one summer at the mill, at the end of which he told his dad “Thanks, but I’ll never be a mill worker again”.

Upon graduation, from Berklee, in 1979, Joe stopped long enough to marry his sweetheart, the former Vicki Cookson. Joe and Vicki then packed their belongings and stuck south for the University of Miami, Florida where Joe had accepted a teaching fellowship. Two years later Joe left Miami with a double Master’s degree in his chosen field.

Through the influence of a cousin, who at the time was a musician with Marty Robbins, Joe and Vicki migrated to Nashville. Within two weeks they were settled in a leased home and Joe was knocking on the doors of union halls in Nashville. He soon picked up a on a temporary job, on the road with Don King, through which he met Mark, Hobie, Jim and Bobby. And of course, all of you fans know the rest of the story.

Through all of his busy career, Joe has taken time to stay in contact with his family, old friends, and past instructors. Joe is the proud father of two wonderful children, a boy Tristan and a girl, Jenna.

From birth, Joe Smyth has been the pride and joy of the family, Papa, Nana, Mom, Dad and then his little sister Amy. We would all, here in Westbrook, Maine like to take this opportunity to say to Joe “Thank you and we love you”.

Written by Joe and Elaine Smyth

Sawyer Brown
Website: Sawyer Brown