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Michael Patrick F. Smith

Smith’s words are “Beautiful, funny, and harrowing.”
The Atlantic

“He’s the real deal.”
Harry Smith, The Today Show

Author and musician Michael Patrick Smith has created a new, full length album produced by Lexington, Kentucky’s Duane Lundy (Ian Noe, Joe Pug, Ringo Starr) and featuring some of that region’s finest musicians, including multi-instrumentalist J. Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Vandaveer, John R. Miller).

Gritty and proudly messy, with the rhythm section recorded live off the floor, Home From The War has a sound that, like Smith, is both cosmopolitan and redneck, hipster and hick, reflecting and celebrating both urban and rural American life. With the working class bonafides of an oil field hand, Smith delivers his songs with a sharp wit of a New York playwright. His music is infused with a sense of danger that conjures the pre-woke character-driven songs of Randy Newman, John Prine and Warren Zevon delivered with the pop urgency of Tom Petty.

Disillusioned with the acting business, in 2013 Smith moved to North Dakota to work on oil rigs, swinging chains as a swamper at the height of the Bakken oil boom. This experience formed the basis of his critically acclaimed book, The Good Hand (A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown) published in 2021 on Viking Press. Smith has since written major articles for the New York Times, The Guardian and Washington Post.


Smith's writing "keeps people alive in thier histories, talents, humor, and mistakes."

The New York Times

Smith self-released the album The Great Away in 2020, featuring Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack of Wye Oak, Dave Heumann of Arboretum, the horn section from The New Volcanoes, and others. The album played extensively on Triple A, Americana and College radio stations across the US and Europe and reached #2 on the NCAA charts.

In 2021, in partnership with Penguin Random House Audio, Smith recorded seven songs that worked as a score for the audiobook release of The Good Hand. Those tracks, featuring pedal steel player Susan Alcorn, were later released as a stand alone EP, DAKOTA, in 2021.

Like seeing the ghost of Woody Guthrie on stage.”

With performance chops honed as a professional actor and a literate, gritty writing style that has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut, and Charles Bukowski, Smith started playing guitar in preparation for the role of Woody Guthrie in a New York stage play—a role which brought him into the sphere of folk luminaries Pete Seeger, Happy Traum and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Since then, Smith has been taking the forms of folk music, rock and soul, and bending them to fit his own idiosyncratic vision in songs about working, about wars, about sex and love and the difficulty of trying to twist an inhospitable world into something like a home.

“That was pretty good.” Ramblin’ Jack Elliott



“You have the talent, the grit, and the wit to have a great life. I envy you and wish you all the best.”

Tom T. Hall

“Your experiences, and your eloquence in sharing them, are so important for Congress to hear.”

Rep. Katie Porter

His work as an oil field hand and writer led to an opportunity to testify before Congress, giving Smith a chance to advocate for better working conditions for oil field workers as well as direct attention to issues at play in the coal mining regions of his adopted state of Kentucky.

Home From The War is undoubtedly Smith's best work sonically. It features some of his deepest, funniest, and most biting songwriting.

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