Musicians in the Spotlight-Secondhand Smoke

Our second article in a series about area musicians focuses on the band Secondhand Smoke. We chatted with their lead guitarist, Cory Valenti, recently, and he gave insight as to their music, their past, and their future.

The band was named Secondhand Smoke due to the fact that all five members have been in various other bands at different times, and they are all avid BBQ enthusiasts. This particular lineup has been together about a year: Keith Ellis, lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Cory Valenti, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and backup vocals; Kenny Brenneman, keyboards, harmonica, and backup vocals; Jeremy Blake, bass; and Joe Farnan, percussion.

Their initial idea was to play classic songs by the great rock artists, but select songs that other bands don’t normally play. Their influences include Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, CCR, ZZ Top, Bush, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam, and others. This has also led to putting together some original songs as well.

Their future plans include a professional photo shoot in October, and going into a studio to record their original songs as well as a few cover songs in December and January. Starting in February 2020, they have scheduled performances throughout the year.

As far as advice to other musicians goes, Cory says, “Just be yourself. Play what you want to play, not what you think people want to hear. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it!”

Secondhand Smoke is the headliner of the Fourth Annual Cameron Area Arts Festival, performing in the Price Pavilion in McCorkle Park, 100 West Third Street in Cameron on Saturday, October 12. They will begin at 7 pm. Don’t miss this hardworking group of blues-rocking local talent!


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