Putnam Smith, who hails from Portland, Maine, could be an old-world troubadour fresh from the 19th Century. After all, he lives in a log cabin, plays his Grandfather's banjo, and has printed up the jackets of his new CD on a 1901 Pearl Letterpress (hand set type, pedal powered!). Yet this rootsy multi-instrumentalist songwriter (he also plays guitar, mandolin, and piano), steeped as he is in old-time Appalachian traditions, is very much a storyteller for the modern age.
With his sophomore release, "Goldrush," reaching #5 on the national Folk DJ Charts (and making it on 5 "Favorite Albums of 2009" Lists) Putnam began to establish himself as an acoustic tour-de-force not only in his hometown of Portland, but as a nationally touring musician from East coast to West. With the 'modern roots' sound of Mark Erelli and the performance energy of a one-man Old Crow Medicine Show, Putnam puts on a show that makes people want to do a little knee-slappin' one moment, then curl up all intimate-like with a glass of red wine, the next.
Putnam's songs sound like they've come from a back porch in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or some cabin on the coast of Maine. From whiskey-slinging good-time banjo numbers, to intimate heartbreakers on the guitar, to wry and sardonic tunes on the mandolin, Putnam's able to connect with each member of his audience as if each one were an old friend with whom he were spending a precious evening.