1. The Great I Am

Written by Mike Lane
Published by Jewels of Jane Adelle Publishing, BMI
Harmonies: The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Alfreda, Regina)
Banjo: Tim Carter
Tamborine: Ann McCrary
Electric Bass: Dave Roe
Mandolin: Andy Leftwich
Fiddle: Andy Leftwich

"This rousing number was written by Pastor Mike Lane when he was about to give a sermon. I love the soulful sounds and lyrics which celebrate a power more significant than ourselves, the power of faith. The McCrary Sisters sang the background on this track, and they really brought it home for me." - Valerie Smith, Bell Buckle Recording Grammy-nominated Artist.

The single "The Great I Am" is a true gospel song from Valerie Smith's forthcoming album, "Renaissance", featuring the dynamic harmony vocals of the McCrary Sisters, virtuosic fiddle and mandolin performances by Andy Leftwich, and seasoned producer-engineer Tim Carter on the 5-string banjo. It was written by Pastor Mike Lane.

Valerie Smith's "Renaissance" album crosses through multiple musical genres while still staying true to the Valerie Smith sound which mixes bluegrass with a wider acoustic flair. The songs cover subject areas of love, finding love, acceptance, self-worth and regret. The project signifies the journey Valerie has made in her life with optimism to which others can relate. It includes upbeat, happy songs that encourage the listener to move to the grove and also lush ballads with meaningful lyrics and melodies that grab the soul. The album is called "Renaissance" because in looking anew at the world and herself Valerie has been reborn. Valerie wrote two of the songs for "Renaissance," and the remaining selections were carefully chosen from the works of other seasoned writers. She chose the songs which best expressed what she wants to say with her music in 2021 and beyond. The quality of the music itself has always come first when Valerie produces a project, which is why it takes her so long to create an entire album.

Valerie has always been interested in all kinds of music; bluegrass, acoustic, baroque, classical, neoclassical, music from Asia, Middle-Eastern folk, rock, indie-rock, Kpop, pop….in other words, anything with sound! In addition, she loves to study the melodies and chord progressions by which she has always been fascinated. For example, not many years ago Valerie heard the original recording of "I Found" and was immediately drawn to the haunting melody and lyrics of the indie rock group Amber Run. She found herself really enjoying singing the song's unique melody and lyrics. Valerie's final arrangement developed during band rehearsal with her touring band, Liberty Pike. Wally Hughes and Lisa Kay Howard Hughes added harmony to the chorus, and everyone fell in love with singing the song together. It became an "earworm" for the whole group.

Valerie Smith grew up in the mid-west near Kansas City and was exposed to several musical genres from her childhood through her college days. She watched movie musicals with Judy Garland, listened to country music while her mother worked, sang on the radio station, and sang gospel music on Sundays in church. And, of course, she and her sister listened to classic rock on their radios. Valerie studied music in college where she was exposed to blues, jazz, opera, and a wide array of other genres; Valerie also studied dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. On weekends Valerie would play old-time fiddle near her hometown of Holt, Missouri and developed a love for traditional American string music. Later, she fell in love with bluegrass because of its incredible acoustic sounds, virtuosic musicians, and soulful melodies. The folk and bluegrass audiences fit her personality the best; they love music.