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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

With performance chops honed as a professional actor and a literate, gritty writing style that has been compared to Randy Newman, 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. Ever 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.

Spotify links to previously released albums:

“Like seeing the ghost of Woody Guthrie on stage.”


“That was pretty good.”
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott


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 self-released the album The Great Away, 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 November of 2020.



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.

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.


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

“His writing keeps people alive in their histories, talents, humor and mistakes.”
New York Times

Smith currently has a development deal with John Wells Productions (Shameless, Maid, Love and Mercy), working under the umbrella of Warner Brothers, to adapt his life story into a multi-season TV show. He has taken this recent run of good fortune as an opportunity to make his first record with producer Duane Lundy, multi-instrumentalist J. Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, John R. Miller) and a group of crack studio musicians.

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

“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

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