Photography: Morton Fog (Denmark) & Meredith Mashburn (US)
Smokey & The Mirror is husband+wife duo Bryan and Bernice Hembree. Based out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Smokey & The Mirror have toured nationally/internationally over the past decade. The band has supported tours for Old Crow Medicine Show, The Wood Brothers, I’m With Her, Elephant Revival, John Fullbright, and many of their musical heroes. They tour most often as a duo, but also plays many shows a year as a four-piece band. Whatever the configuration, the interplay of their two unique voices coupled with engaging, accessible songs form the foundation of Smokey & The Mirror.
The Hembrees work tirelessly on many musical and creative pursuits. They are committed to others’ music as much as their own. They have found that the most satisfying path to longevity in music is to put others’ art in the spotlight or to inspire others’ to find their voice. They believe that the future of music is not winning the “me first” battle, but rather building community. They are founders and co-creators of the Fayetteville Roots Festival (Arkansas). They also spent a year (2017) with Austin-based international songwriting collaborative, House of Songs, to pilot House of Songs Ozarks in Bentonville, Arkansas. Bernice is also a music educator and has worked in private instruction, with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation’s songwriting program for elementary students, and to develop a music curriculum for the Fayetteville Montessori School. Bryan co-founded the Crooked Crow Songwriting Retreat for working songwriters with good friend and fellow musician, J Wagner.
"Bryan and Bernice Hembree (Smokey & The Mirror) are making some of the best folk music today. The songs remind me of a time when Guy Clark was unknown and Ray Wylie Hubbard was still a folkie. Smart, cool and never pretentious."
- Greg Johnson, The Blue Door
"The thing I love most about this band and the evening with them is not only the powerfully beautiful voice of bass player, Bernice Hembree, or the well-written songs of Bryan Hembree, sung with his rustic, true American voice – it’s the energy they bring on stage and to the audience! You can tell when they are performing; they truly treasure what they do. They feed off each other to the point it’s sometimes hard to tell where the guitar stops and the bass starts!” - Chris Roberts, Red Arm Music
"This past Friday, I was lucky enough to see Elephant Revival with special guests, Smokey & The Mirror. And what a night it was! I’ve seen numerous husband and wife duos in my time, especially in the folk scene. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this duo. Bernice and Bryan Hembree have so much chemistry and musical talent it’s ridiculous. It’s the perfect complement of a female and male vocal. She has the soothing, higher pitched voice and his, is that of a weary traveler. His vocals really nail that Americana, folky, “I’ve been traveling this long road for a while” style voice. Their set was solid and just really, really good!" - Adam Robinson, Honest Music Review
"Duets were the order of the day in the early afternoon at Red Wing Roots Festival, beginning with Bernice and Bryan Hembree playing as Smokey & The Mirror. He writes great songs (St. Alban’s Day, Will and Woody) while she has a powerful and beautiful voice (showcased on a cover of Dylan’s Buckets of Rain). They were the first out of the chute today, and the Hembrees set a high bar."
- David J Brown (More to Come Blog)