My name is Kevin Arrowsmith. I was born and raised in a musical family in Nashville, TN. I started playing the violin at age 5, cello at 6 and finally found my path at 10 when I picked up the guitar. I was raised mostly on classical music but had some rock n' roll, jazz and pop radio to round out my listening experience.
I started playing guitar after being introduced to bands like Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Ozzy, Metallica and Jimi Hendrix. It was through my teenage years that I played guitar most of the time and listened to music that I wanted to listen to. I became entranced by heavy metal, and all I wanted to do was play music.
Toward the end of high school, I started listening to a wider variety of music including jazz, blues, funk and classic rock. Even though I was from Nashville, country music and bluegrass were not yet on my radar other than what I had heard from my sister's stereo, on Hee Haw and at Opryland. It was on Thanksgiving night my freshman year of college that everything changed.
I was invited to a "pickin' party". I had no idea what that meant or what to expect. My friend told me that it was a bluegrass jam, and all I could think about was the square dancers at Opryland and what I had seen on Hee Haw as a kid. That was not what I experienced. What I experienced was a house full of world-class musicians playing the coolest music I had ever heard. It was that night too that I first played and fell in love with the mandolin. I had seen mandolins in passing before but had never really given it any thought. What a cool instrument!
After that night, I started learning fiddle tunes on a violin that was still at my parent's house. I spent half the time playing it with a pick as if it were a mandolin. Soon after, I got my first mandolin and began diving into the instrument. I enjoyed playing the fiddle as well and was learning tunes on guitar along with my other guitar studies.
I went to Middle Tennessee State University to study music where I majored in theory and composition with classical guitar as my instrument. Outside of school I was playing all kinds of music, though. I was definitely more focused on playing gigs than I was on going to class.
MTSU had a great recording program that I took advantage of while I was there. I played guitar, bass, fiddle and mandolin on countless student projects as well as playing gigs around Murfreesboro and Nashville. I played in several bands playing rock, country, jazz, bluegrass and Celtic music. I kept busier playing with those groups than I did going to school.
I started paying attention to the scene in Nashville, which is what got me into country music. Musicians like Buddy Spicher, Mark O'Connor, Sam Bush, Brent Mason and Stuart Duncan were my new heroes. I started meeting studio and touring musicians and finally realized that the opportunity to play for a living was very real, and school was only getting in the way. I left school after three years to play music professionally and got my first touring gig with country trio SheDaisy a few months later. They didn't tour a whole lot, which left plenty of time to play in bands locally and regionally. I picked up any work I could on the side playing on Broadway in Nashville, playing showcases and studio sessions. Anything to keep busy. I was also a member of a couple bands who were getting recording and publishing offers. I worked on writing and recording my own music and continued honing my craft to establish myself as a utility musician.
I have now been playing music professionally since 1999 and in that time have toured with acts like SheDaisy, Dierks Bently, Josh Gracin, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Goose Creek Symphony, Jessica Simpson and Luke Bryan to name a few. I’ve been on countless TV shows, music videos, and studio recordings and have never run out of time to work on music for myself.
Currently, you can find me on tour with Luke Bryan playing guitar, fiddle and mandolin. I have made a career of being a utility musician and still get to enjoy writing, producing, working on my own music and playing and listening to all the music that got me where I am now.