Valerie Smith Award-Winning Bluegrass and Country Music Artist


Meet Valerie's band, "Liberty Pike"

Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes


Lisa Kay Howard has been playing bluegrass professionally across the US and Canada for 25 years. She started out at 14 in 1989 performing with her family band, Crooked Run, and later founded the DC-based band Badly Bent. She spent several years touring and recording with southern Maryland's Flying Blind Bluegrass, and Jay Armsworthy and Eastern Tradition. In 2007, she began fronting her own Lisa Kay Band in the region, and in 2013 she joined the group East Of Monroe, an Americana band that showcases original material. Lisa Kay is a 26-year veteran bluegrass radio host and concert MC, and hosted a show for many years on Washington DC-based WAMU's Bluegrass Country, before joining Valerie Smith's host roster on Bell Buckle Radio. She is also the co-founder of the DC Bluegrass Union, an organization that promotes and encourages bluegrass in Washington DC and beyond, including extensive youth outreach. 

Wally Hughes


Wally Hughes is an excellent singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Delaware, now residing in Northern Virginia. Wally has been playing bluegrass professionally across the US and Canada for over 40 years. Wally first started playing dobro on stage at 11 years old with the family Bluegrass Band called the Hughes Family and then moved on to the fiddle and other instruments. For a number of years he fronted his own band in Delaware while recording and playing with other groups from the area as well. He is also a member of "Commonwealth Bluegrass" and "East of Monroe." 

He recorded and played in a band called Penn Central with Steve Huber in the early 80s and has performed with Mike Auldridge, Bill Emerson, Mike Munford and many other top DC bluegrass musicians since moving to Northern Virginia. He regularly teaches at festival camps, including Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival's Kids Academy, teaching fiddle, Dobro, and guitar.

Tom Gray

Upright Bass/Vocals

Tom Gray is best known for his bass work with two iconic bands, The Country Gentlemen and The Seldom Scene. The configurations of both of those bands while Tom was a member were both inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame. Therefore, Tom is the only person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame two times.  

Tom has played his bass fiddle on well over 100 recordings with  other artists including Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, Hazel  Dickens, Bill Clifton, The Federal Jazz Commission, and the Stanley Brothers.  He has gained a following among the other bassists attracted by his melodic bass lines. Tom has been voted the best bassist 8 times by 3 magazines. With several bands, he has played in most states of the U.S., in Canada, Japan and at many festivals. Tom can be seen conducting bass workshops.  

Tom was born Feb. 1, 1941 in Chicago and raised in Washington D.C., where he attended George Washington University and became very active in the bluegrass music scene. At the age of 19, he began working as a cartographer for National Geographic, and started playing professionally with The Country Gentlemen. Tom would maintain both careers - music and maps - for a lifetime.  

In 2012, the D.C. Bluegrass Union gave Tom its Washington Monument Award, acknowledging a lifetime of achievements in the local music scene.

Joe Zauner


Joe Zauner was born in Washington, DC and now lives  in Maryland.  He has been playing bluegrass banjo and guitar since  1973.  Joe played in local bands in the DC metro area during college and  law school, including the very popular “Stars  & Bars” band which featured now 7-time IBMA Bass Player of the Year  award winner Missy Raines among its regular members.  Stars & Bars  performed at all the major bluegrass music venues in and near Washington  DC area and at bluegrass festivals in Maryland,  Virginia and West Virginia.  Joe currently works with Valerie Smith  & Liberty Pike as well as the Patent Pending bluegrass band, did a  stint on banjo and guitar with the Jeanette and Johnny Williams Band,  and has also performed in various musical configurations  alongside 4-time Grammy-winning composer Louisa Branscomb.  He was  selected to perform a cut on the “Patuxent Banjo Project”, a two-volume  recording of tunes by influential and well-known banjo players in the  greater Washington, DC area and his cut, “Angelina  Baker” has received airplay on a number of bluegrass radio shows around  the country.  

While a full-time practicing trial attorney, Joe  has had the opportunity over the past 40 years to appear on stage with  many well-known bluegrass music performers including Jerry Douglas, Buck  White, Sharon and Cheryl White, Eddie & Martha  Adcock, Roland White, Larry Stephenson, Pam Gadd, Randy Waller, Gene  Johnson and the Dixie Beeliners.   From 2005 to 2012 Joe worked as stage  manager for the IBMA World of Bluegrass Fanfest main stage in  Nashville, Tennessee.  

Joe, a graduate of Georgetown University and the  University of Maryland School of Law, is a collector of vintage  bluegrass musical instruments as well as vintage American and English woodworking hand-tools.  In college he wrote the score  for a two-act musical comedy performed at Georgetown University in Spring 1976, and also conducted the pit orchestra.


Where does the name come from?

The band is named after a historic road that runs through Bell Buckle, TN. Valerie calls this southern town (located just 30 miles from Nashville) her home. The civil war "Battle of Liberty Pike" is a location where Bell Buckle Records began.  Many history buffs visit the area to learn more about the history. Come visit and eat at the "Bell Buckle Cafe."

Visit Historic Bell Buckle, TN

The delightful small town of Bell Buckle dates back to 1852, established by local merchant A.D. Fugitt. Today, it’s a thriving arts community and home of The Webb School, a renowned preparatory academy. Downtown Bell Buckle has charming rows of eclectic shops, eateries and colorful down-home festivals.



Danny Stuarts Bluegrass Cruise

January 11-15 2021

Join Us!



Molly Tuttle, Kathy Kallick, Valerie Smith, Kristin Scott Benson at CBA

Join the Workshops!

I love to teach workshops!

Past Performances

Past Performances

Past and Recent Performances


Father's  Day Bluegrass Festival, CBA

Wilmington Winter Bluegrass Festival

ROMP Festival

Didmarton Bluegrass Festival

 The Harrison Pub, 

Lyceum Folk Club

Gower Bluegrass Festival

The Bell Inn 

The Musician Pub 

Cornish Bluegrass Festival

Mountain Heritage Festival

California Bluegrass "Father's Day Festival", Grass Valley, CA

California Bluegrass Association's "Camp Bluegrass", Grass Valley, CA

Windgap Bluegrass Festival

Windgap, PA
Women in Bluegrass
Bright Box Theater
Old Town Winchester, VA
The Winchester Cathedral, Baltimore, MD

Festival of the Bluegrass
Lexington, KY​
The City Winery, Nashville, TN
Ronnie Reno Television Show
Songs of the Mountain Television Show
Nashville, TN
Grand OLE Opry, Nashville, TN
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
Bell Witch, the movie, Performance Premiere
Nashville, TN
European Tours throughout UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, and more
ROMP, Owensboro, TN
Wintergrass, Seattle, WA
Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Gettysburg, PA
Smoked Country Jam, Crosspoint,  PA
Madison Square Park, New York, NY
International Bluegrass Music Conference
Americana Music Conference, Nashville, TN
International Bluegrass Fan Fest
Nashville, TN
Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, DE
Brandywine Friends of Old-time Music
Greeneville, DE
24th Annual Midsummer in the Northwoods Bluegrass, Manitowish, Waters WI
3RD and LINDSLEY , Nashville, TN    
Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville, TN
Moon Pie Festival, Bell Buckle, TN
International Folk Festival, Bell Buckle, TN
Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival, Wind Gap, PA
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN
The Rutledge, Nashville, TN
McReynolds Benefit,  Troubadour Theater
Nashville, TN
The Station Inn, Nashville, TN
Heritage Day On The Mountain at Hard Times USA , Rocky Island, TN
South Jackson Civic Center, Tullahoma TN
Cedar Valley Settlers Celebration & Music Festival  North Olmstea, OH
Mohican Bluegrass Festival Glenmont OH
1st Annual St. Georges Bluegrass Festival
 St. George, DE
OATS Music  Festival Benton, PA
Smoked Country Jam , Cross Fork PA
Park Theater - Silver Dollar City
Branson, MO
Franklin County Bluegrass Festival
Franklin, KY
Waldo Bluegrass Festival, Waldo, FL
In the Pines Festival, Palm Dale, FL
Lion's Club Seafood Festival, St. Augustine, FL
Spirit of the Suwannee, Live Oak, FL
Macon Arts Theater, Macon, GA
Chevy Music Festival, Dahlonega, GA
Bell Buckle Banquet Hall, Bell Buckle, TN
Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival, Wind Gap, PA Rockholm Gardens, Rockholm,  IN
Indiana State Prison, IN
Bluegrass In the Schools
Arts Week for Oldfields
Oldfields School
Motlow Junior College Class
"Performance Arts and
Business Strategies
The Bell Buckle Cafe
Val's Trio with Roger Huffman and Kraig Smith
 The Bell Buckle Cafe Val's Trio with Roger Huffman and Kraig Smith
South Jackson Arts Center
Roots to Bluegrass in the Schools!
Windgap Bluegrass Festival

Bluegrass & Country Music  Music Society Festival
Blue Plate Special
Luttrell Bluegrass Festival
Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival
Freshman Farmland Markets
Brandywine Friends Music Concert
Frying Pan Farm Park
Several "Arts Theaters" and "Educational Programs" in US, UK , Austria and Germany.
Recording at Patuxent Music, Rockville, MD
Sore Fingers Bluegrass Week
Vocal Workshops
Bath, England, UK
Victory Villa Community Center
House Concert
​Becky & Bob Knorr
Berwick, PA
​570 594-4966
DC Bluegrass Festival
Dalton WoodSongs Coffee House
"Bear on the Square", Dahlonega, GA
Charm City Bluegrass Festival
Drum & Strum Music Listening Room
Common Ground On The Hill
Carroll County Arts Council Theater
Georgia Pick and Bow Traditional School