Garth W. Smith
Garth W. Smith is an LDS musician/pianist who specializes in original arrangements of LDS hymns on the piano. He was born in Brigham City, Utah and now resides in Oceanside, California.
Garth began his classical musical training on the piano at the age of 5. In his bio on his official website he states, “Melodies and composing are both something that have come very natural to me. In fact, when I was only three years old, my mother tells me that I would stand at the piano and pick out Primary song melodies.”
He also remarks that there have been two women in his life who have had a significant influence on his music. The first of the two is his mother, JoAnne Petty Smith, who recognized his musical abilities at an early age and, being a piano teacher herself, started piano lessons for Garth when he was 5-years-old. The second was his talented classical piano teacher, Lucille Lawson, whom he began working with at the age of 6. By the age of 8, he was performing as a piano soloist.
Garth is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and says that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a very significant part of his life. Therefore, with each hymn arrangement he writes, his intent is to present the listener with some of the hymns from the Church in a unique way. In his bio, he further comments, “Every hymn from me is an original arrangement, prayerfully considered. I hope you feel my testimony of Christ in each performance. I wholeheartedly believe that these sacred hymns can enhance your Sabbath experience, drive-time to the temple, as well as any other time that you feel a need to “escape” the world and listen to music that uplifts the soul.”
He has been a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the California County Music Association. In 1999 he was the recipient of the California Country Music Association (CCMA) “Song of the Year” award for the song “Last Call.” He has also performed as a keyboardist in jazz, rock, and country bands.
His first commercial CD “Sacred Hymns Arranged and Performed on the Piano by Garth Smith” was released in April 2014. Speaking about the inspirational CD, Shelby Scoffield wrote in a 22 April 2014 Deseret News article:
Smith certainly has an ear for music, and that is demonstrated by each of the songs on his CD. Smith takes hymns that are sung every Sunday and puts a new twist on them while still keeping the reverence and meaning of the song. His talent echoes that of The Piano Guys.”
While “Sacred Hymns” is a great CD for Sundays, it is also great background music for any activity that needs to be done throughout the week.
According to an article dated 27 August 2015 on LDS Missionaries.com, Garth was signed by RLegacy Entertainment in Salt Lake City, Utah soon after the CD was released. Due to the critical success of the album, it was added to the Deseret Bookstore catalog, BYU Stores, YourLDSMusic, and other popular LDS music outlets.
Garth released his second full-length album, “How Beautiful Thy Temples, Sacred Hymns, Vol. II” in 2015. Popular writer Jonathan Decker (also known as the “Mormon Movie Guy”) writing for The Meridian Magazine said, “Smith strikes a nice balance between skillful arrangements and drawing attention to the sacred music more than his own talents; by this I mean he honors the hymns instead of turning into an overwrought personal showcase.” The album has proven to be a tremendous success and charted nationally at #21 on the iTunes Gospel new music chart. Sample tracks from both CDs can be listened to, and the CDs themselves may be purchased, on Garth’s official website.
Garth served a mission to the Arizona Holbrook Navajo Mission, graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Design Engineering Technology, and is currently serving in the bishopric of the Vista 8th Ward, Vista California Stake. He also travels with his wife Diane throughout the United States presenting a Christ-centered multimedia fireside called “The Hymns: Another Witness of Jesus Christ”. The presentation has been made at Temple Visitors Centers, Wards, Stakes, Stake Relief Society Conferences, Multi-Stake Youth, Single Adult, and Regional Institute gatherings.
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