Hank, Pattie & The Current

Bluegrass

Hank Pattie and the Current are a progressive bluegrass band based out of Raleigh. They are PineCone favorites and feature Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw (fiddle), Hank Smith (banjo), Billie Feather (guitar) and Stevie Martinez (bass).

“Seemingly impervious to any preset formula, their instrumental make-up is of the bluegrass variety, but a more accurate description of their sound might rank them more as grassicana,” wrote Lee Zimmerman for Bluegrass Today.

“We all come from different backgrounds but seem to have a common link that has connected us from the beginning,” said Pattie to Bluegrass Today. “Each individual brings his or her piece of the puzzle to the table, and this ensemble forms its own unique sound.”

Hank told the News & Observer that he stumbled into music relatively late in life. “I have no musical background, I have no family members who are musical,” Smith said. “I heard banjo growing up on ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ and ‘Hee Haw’ and stuff, and just thought it sounded cool. When I was in high school, a bunch of my other friends were learning guitar, and I was like, ‘Yeah, but banjo sounds cooler.’ ”

In addition to being accomplished performers, all four members of the band are performers and educators. Billie Feather has taught music at Meredith College, Washington State University. Stevie Martinez is on faculty at Coastal Carolina University. Meanwhile Hank teaches undergraduates in the Bluegrass Program at UNC Chapel Hill and Pattie teaches privately.

This session was recorded in 2020 for the virtual festival IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. It was shot by Cinehawk and later shared with Wake County schoolkids as a part of our Bluegrass in Schools program.
PineCone asked Hank, Pattie & the Current to interpret a jingle that the State of North Carolina put out in the early days of the 2020 pandemic.