Hunter Smith Band
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Hunter Smith Band

Indianapolis, IN | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Indianapolis, IN | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Country Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Back Porch Revival: A Kinnick concert with a cause"

Former Hawkeye football star Dallas Clark felt helpless watching the Iowa flood of 2008 wreak havoc on Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Preparing for his next season as a tight end for the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts, he wasn't able to give as much help as he wanted.

"You felt helpless, and you just felt bad for everyone in town," Clark said Wednesday. "When you're away, and stuff like that happens, you just feel terrible."

That feeling of helplessness and of wanting to do more dug into Clark's head and became the inspiration for The Back Porch Revival concert that will take over Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the same venue where Clark spent his All-American college football career.

The massive concert is expected to draw more than 50,000 people to see country stars Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Big and Rich, and other artists and also serves as the first major fundraiser for The Native Fund, the charitable organization started by Clark last year to help Iowans dealing with natural disasters.

MORE: Country music in Iowa is having an epic year

"The one promise we really want to do, if people donate to us, is that we're streamlined: The most funds possible will go to Iowans," Clark said in a phone interview with the Press-Citizen. "It's Iowans helping Iowans."
Dallas Clark

(Photo: Kelsey Kremer/The Register)

The Native Fund aims to be "not the Red Cross, but a little more unique, specific" to Iowa when it comes natural disaster relief, Clark said, with major backing from fellow Iowa natives like actor Ashton Kutcher and professional golfer Zach Johnson.

When Clark was a member of the Colts — a Super Bowl-winning and offensive record-shattering football franchise during Clark's time, with teammates like Peyton Manning — he recalled being invited to just about every black-tie charity fundraiser and gala in the land. If he were ever to raise money for his own charity, Clark knew he would want to do it in a "unique and different" way.

"God just put it on my heart," Clark said of the idea to hold a Kinnick concert. "It was one of those things that really made sense to me. I loved music my whole life, but I have no musical ability whatsoever. I love going to concerts, I love live music, so a live music charitable event just made sense."

After retiring from football in 2014, he found working to make his idea of Iowans helping Iowans "a natural thing to do in retirement." In 2015, The Native Fund officially became a 501c charitable organization with the idea that The Back Porch Revival concert would act as the world's introduction to the charity.
Phil Haddy.Buy Photo

Phil Haddy. (Photo: Press-Citizen file photo)
Hawkeye nation reacts

The concert and the new nonprofit were announced with a public announcement on the screens of Kinnick during the UI game against North Texas last year. The idea impressed fellow Hawkeye and All-American kicker Nate Kaeding as soon as he heard it.

"Any excuse to get into Kinnick Stadium with thousands of other people is always a good idea," Kaeding said of the Back Porch Revival. "I thought it was a great idea and was sort of wondering why something like this hadn't happened before."

The event marks what is believed to be the first time a major concert has been held at Kinnick, said Phil Haddy, former University of Iowa sports information director. During his 41 years on the job, Haddy said he had never heard of anything like a concert on the football field.

"Kinnick Stadium, from a fan's point of view, is one of the best stadiums in the country," Haddy said, noting that the compact design of the stadium means fans are closer to the field than at most other football stadiums. The stadium's close quarters, while great for fans on gameday, mean it can't easily be converted for non-football uses.
Nate Kaeding poses for a photo on Wednesday, April

(Photo: David Scrivner / Iowa City Press)

Throw in the fact that Kinnick was built in 1929, 36 years before The Beatles ushered in the era of stadium concerts with the band's 1965 show at Shea Stadium in New York City, and it becomes clear the stadium was built in an era in which stadium concerts weren't even imagined as potential uses by the companies that built it. "What (the) crews are doing to get the stadium ready couldn't have been done 40 or 50 years ago," Haddy said.

Clark knew going in how nontraditional — and logistically difficult — the Back Porch Revival would be when he first contacted UI about the idea, making his alma mater's full support of his idea all the more gratifying.

"The doors just kept opening and opening," Clark said. "There were so many times along the way where people could have said no, but it was meant to be."

Kaeding said the idea behind the Back Porch Revival is evidence of the current UI athletic department and Clark "thinking outside the box for the good of the community."

Despite The Back Porch Revival being a historic event for the 87-year-old stadium, Haddy said he would be surprised if he didn't see more of these sort of events in Kinnick's future.

"The idea of a charitable concert at Kinnick reinforces what Iowa is all about: You go anywhere in the country, and you know what they say about Iowans — that they're good people," Haddy said. "This event is good people doing what they can for other good people."

What's good for people is also good for business, said Kaeding, who is the retail development director for the Iowa City Downtown District. Noting that there are "many" benefits to having a major university in town, one of the more unheralded benefits are events at the soon-to-be open Hancher Auditorium, the new Voxman Music Building and Kinnick drawing in lots of visitors to the area.

"We take for granted that these special events don't happen in other markets," he said. "They're a huge boost to all the local businesses."
Next up for Back Porch, Native Fund

Up until 1 p.m. Saturday, when the gates to Kinnick open to fans for The Back Porch Revival, Clark said those putting on the concert will be "keeping our noses down, keeping it to the grindstone" promoting the event and making sure the concert goes off without a hitch.

"I'm kind of a perfectionist. I love that so many people have bought tickets, but I want the entire stadium sold out. That's just who I am," Clark said. "You can be a Cyclones fan and you'll have fun at this, so I want everyone to come."

“I want the entire stadium sold out. That's just who I am. You can be a Cyclones fan and you'll have fun at this, so I want everyone to come.”
Dallas Clark

Clark said he has already started thinking about another Back Porch concert in the future, saying it was "something we obviously want to happen again," but "you gotta impress the boss; we gotta hit a home run with this event."

As for The Native Fund, Clark said the nonprofit was "still defining" what it does, saying the reach charity does could expand.

"There are so many great organizations, so much great work already being done already, we want to help in areas that have been unmet," Clark said.

As the nonprofit grows, Clark said he wants to help focus more attention to post-9/11 war veterans and children dealing with deadly disease.

"We don't want to piggyback off others — call the TV and newspaper reporters and just cut a big check. We want to help people, and be a little more tactile with how we help."

Reach Zach Berg at 319-887-5412,, or follow him on Twitter at @ZacharyBerg.
More details about the first concert in Kinnick Stadium:
Play Video

On Saturday Dallas Clark, native Iowan and former Hawkeye and NFL football player, will announce the details of a concert at Kinnick Stadium in August 2016 to benefit his newly created nonprofit organization the Native Fund. Kelsey Kremer/The Register
If you go:

What: The Back Porch Revival, a country music concert event featuring seven artists performing over 11 hours as a fundraiser for The Native Fund nonprofit.

Where: Kinnick Stadium, 825 Stadium Drive, Iowa City.

When: Parking lots open at 10 a.m.; gates to Kinnick open at 1 p.m.; music starts at 3 p.m.

Tickets: Concert tickets and tickets for parking can be purchased at The Back Porch Revival's website.

Schedule: Hunter Smith Band 3-3:30 p.m.; Morgan Frazier and David Ray 3:45 -4:30 p.m.; Tucker Beathard 5-5:45 p.m.; Big and Rich 6:15-7:15 p.m.; Thomas Rhett 7:45-9 p.m.; Blake Shelton 9:30-11 p.m.

What you can bring: Policy for Back Porch is the same as Hawkeye games for what you can bring to the stadium, which includes clear plastic bags, clutch bags, diaper bags and 1-gallon clear plastic bags. No alcohol or weapons can be brought into the stadium.

Weather: There is 40 percent chance of rain Saturday, but most precipitation is expected in the morning hours. The event is rain or shine, so bring a poncho or umbrella.

""Indiana Moon" Chosen to be the Official Song of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebrations"

He was out on the trampoline with his kids one night after the sun had faded from the sky.

The moon had come up, glistening over his Zionsville home, and Hunter Smith started singing about that crescent-shaped light, about that Indiana moon.

"When the sun goes down and the day is o’er

We lie on our backs in the cool outdoors

Heaven’s lantern is all aglow

Over Hoosierland."

"It just hit me," said Smith, a former Indianapolis Colts punter who won a Super Bowl with the 2006 team and is now lead singer of his own Hunter Smith Band. "And I started chasing them around the trampoline until finally my oldest said, 'Dad, stop singing that song.' "

But Smith didn't stop singing that song. And that song, an idea from one of Smith's guitar players, Ethan Ehrstine, ended up being written for the band's latest album, "Story."
They titled it "Indiana Moon" and it's now the anthem for a milestone in state history — the official song of Indiana's bicentennial.

"Since 1816 we’ve been here

Passin’ down life through the smiles and tears

Under its light through the hard years

Shinin’ like a friend"
The Hunter Smith Band will play the song at the Statehouse at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 during the Indiana Bicentennial Hoosier Homecoming. They will play it at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Dec. 11 on the state's official 200th birthday.

And, of course, the song will be played many other times as the state celebrates its birth.

Smith, a Texas native, who played college football at the University of Notre Dame, said the seed for the song was likely planted when he first came to Indiana.

"I was first struck by the simple beauty of the Hoosier state," he said in an email. "The farms, pastures and rural countryside were enchanting."

In his more than 20 years of living in Indiana, Smith said he's fallen deeply in love with the state.

"I love Indiana. It's where I met my wife, where we raise our children. It's where I want to live and die," he said. "'Indiana Moon' is just a small personal tribute to the state I enjoy and love." - Indianapolis Star

"Former Colts punter Hunter Smith lands gig with Blake Shelton"

Punter-turned-singer Hunter Smith will play with the country superstar in August.

In the NFL, there's winning a Super Bowl.

In the field of country music, there's landing an opening act for megastar Blake Shelton.

Not sure which is better, but former Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith doesn't have to decide.

He can say he's done both.

The Super Bowl came with the Colts in 2007.

And on Monday, Smith revealed that his band, Hunter Smith Band, has signed a deal with Shelton to open at Shelton's Back Porch Revival show Aug. 27 in Iowa City, Iowa.

The announcement comes just two months after the release of Smith's second album, "Story."

The five-man band plays gigs all over the United States. It has opened for classics such as John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Money, but of late is getting more and more bookings with national acts.


Former Colts punter Hunter Smith: 'I'm enjoying the things that last forever'

"One we just inked is an opener spot for Blake Shelton in 2016," Smith wrote in an e-mail. "Should be fun."

Fun? That's putting it mildly. Hook up with a guy like Shelton and who knows where your music career might land?

Shelton first rose to fame with the song "Austin," which debuted in 2001. Then, he rose to more fame as the husband of country singer Miranda Lambert (the two are now divorced). And then he rose to even more fame as the wise-guy judge on reality singing show "The Voice."

Smith is among several acts that will open for Shelton at the show next summer, including Tucker Beathard, Morgan Frazier and David Ray.

Tickets range in price from $83 to $470. Smith's new album is available on iTunes, Amazon and at - Indianapolis Star

"Hunter Smith Band Debuts New Sound at Traders Point"

Hunter Smith is still kicking it. The former Colts punter—vocalist and acoustic-guitar player for the Hunter Smith Band—will front the group in an album release show at Traders Point Creamery on Friday, where he and his bandmates will introduce fans to their second album, Story. “We feel like one of our greatest strengths is playing live,” says the 12-year NFL vet, who lives in Zionsville. A free concert begins at 5 p.m. with classic-rock duo Jes and Vicky Richmond; the Hunter Smith Band performs at 7:30.

Two-and-a-half years in the making, Story incorporates more rock influences than Green, released in April 2012. Smith says the new sound is a product of increased collaboration between the group’s five members and hard work. “We liked our [first] album, but it was definitely a strange presentation,” he says. “It was kind of country meets Euro-indie-folk-pop.”

The band wrote Green in Nashville, where the location and collaborative artists shaped some of the group’s early sound. “We brought our band together four years ago—it was me and four other guys, and we didn’t have an identity,” Smith says. “But we had great relationships.”

Smith isn't apologizing for the first album—he knows some fans really identified with it—but feels the second album is a better representation of band's personality and what each of its members does best. “We want it to land deeply in people,” he says.

Smith wrote 65 new tracks for Story, only 13 of which made it into the sophomore album, and the final product is more an evolution in sound than a departure from the group’s country roots. Smith’s vocal style still brings a tinge of his Texas upbringing into every track, especially mid-album offerings like “Forever Seventeen” and “Indiana Moon.” Lyrically, Story delves into lifelong relationships with family members and religion, the pressure to bring up the next generation right, and finding a niche to grow into.

Smith hopes the Traders Point concert not only draws fans of the first album but brings new listeners to the band's music. “I love that our new album will be some people's first impression of us,” he says. - Indianapolis Monthly

"Thousands flock to see ex-Colt Hunter Smith on the farm"

The concert for the release of Smith's new album, "Story," drew an unexpected crowd to a creamery in Zionsville.

The backdrop was a big red barn. A blue, cloud-streaked sky on a perfect Indiana summer night.

The food was sloppy joe sandwiches, grassfed beef hot dogs, mac-n-cheese and fresh veggies.

For former Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith -- a guy who grew up on a cattle ranch in Sherman, Texas, who rides 4-wheelers across the countryside in his spare time -- this was the perfect place to perform his album-release concert.

On a sprawling farm in Zionsville, home to Traders Point Creamery.

Just one problem. The farm almost wasn't big enough.

"We thought this would be 300 or 400 people," Smith told the crowd, as he performed songs from his Hunter Smith Band's second album, "Story," released Friday. "This is amazing."

Thousands showed up to Traders Point, causing traffic jams on Moore Road, a country road lined with trees and creeks and farmhouses. Perhaps, Moore Road's first traffic jam.

"It feels like Blake Shelton landed in Zionsville or something," said Maria Crossley, 28, who was standing in a line 30 people long waiting to buy a sloppy joe. "I think he doesn't have to worry. Hunter Smith has a future."

Smith definitely wants a future in music.

The married father of four, who won a Super Bowl during the 2006 season with the Colts, takes his songwriting and performing as seriously as he did his 12-year NFL career, 10 years of which were with the Colts.

He played with the Colts until 2008 and then went to the Washington Redskins before retiring after the 2010 season.

"I used to play for the Colts," he said Friday. "Does anybody remember that?"

The concert was part music, part story-telling. Smith told tales and revealed meanings behind the songs he was about to sing.

"Over the past few years, I've got this historical man crush on Abraham Lincoln," he said before performing the song "Time Machine." He added that he has read up on Lincoln and wife, Mary, and is amazed by their life together. "This is a song for Abraham and Mary Lincoln."

The five-man Hunter Smith Band plays gigs all over the United States. It has opened for country classics such as John Michael Montgomery and opened for Eddie Money this summer in Chicago.
The Hunter Smith Band performed a free concert FridayBuy Photo

The Hunter Smith Band performed a free concert Friday to debut their second album, "Story." (Photo: Dana Benbow / The Star)

The band released its first album, "Green," 2 1/2 years ago. Sales have continued to be steady, Smith said, and the album served its purpose of showcasing the band's sound and helping it book shows.

The waiting paid off. "Story" was produced by Thom Daugherty, a former guitar player with The Band Perry.

Smith describes his band's genre as a mix.

"There's something country there, but there is nobody cooler in the pop sense than Keith Urban," he said. "That's kind of where we fall, in that genre. There's one foot in country. We're something and country."

Smith's album, "Story," is available on iTunes, Amazon and - Indianapolis Star

"Q & A With Hunter Smith"

Q&A: Hunter Smith on Writing Indiana’s Official Bicentennial Song
It was just announced today that “Indiana Moon” by the Hunter Smith Band is the anthem of the state’s bicentennial celebrations. The former Colts punter and Texas transplant explains why the Hoosier honor means so much to him.

June 20, 2016Lauren Carpenter0 Comments

It’s official: The Hunter Smith Band’s “Indiana Moon” has been named the anthem of Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebrations.

The song comes from the band’s second album, Story, released last year. A Texas native, Smith picked up a guitar full-time after retiring his cleats as punter for the Indianapolis Colts, starting the Hunter Smith Band in 2012. The group, consisting of Central Indiana musicians Justin Langebartels, Alex Reiff, Ethan Ehrstine, and Kyle Whitely, has since released two albums and opened for big names such as Rascal Flatts and Trace Adkins.

Smith tells IM why he was “elated” when he learned his song had received the bicentennial honor.

What inspired you to write “Indiana Moon”?

Well, one of our guitar players [Ehrstine] had the idea for a song called “Indiana Moon.” I felt like that was a really good title, and titles are to be given a good melody and a good hook. One night I was out on the trampoline in our backyard—my kids can vouch for this. The sun was almost down, and the moon was up pretty bright, and I just started singing the chorus. It just kind of came to me. And it’s funny because if you listen to the song, the way we were bouncing and running around was kind of in rhythm with the song. And I probably sang it while chasing them around and wrestling with them for 30 minutes, until one of them finally said, “Dad, stop!” So at that point, I couldn’t tell if it was really good, or if it was just really annoying. I sat down later and penned the rest of it, and it’s proved to be a really strong song for us.

What was your reaction to finding out “Indiana Moon” is the official song of Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration?

I was elated. When I got to Indiana when I was a [17-year-old] kid, I drove up through the state and just fell in love with the place and fell in love with the people. I’ve been wanting to write some kind of a tribute song, and so for this to be selected as the official celebration anthem of the bicentennial is a very special thing to me on a number of levels.

What’s your favorite thing about Indiana?

I love the people. I come from Texas, and there are great people in Texas, but there’s something that I love about the honesty of the Hoosier population. The people here, they will do anything for you. And that’s a real special trait of the people here. I think it’s born out of the generations of people honestly working, loving their families, and bringing them up the right way.

How did you first become interested in music and being a musician?

I was introduced to music probably about the same time or earlier than I was introduced to sports. I grew up in a musical household, had fairly musical parents, very musical siblings. We grew up singing a lot.

Are your siblings musicians as well?

No. They’re very musical, but they did other things. I have the most options—let’s say that.

What was the switch from being in the NFL to starting a band like?

It was actually pretty natural. I had been playing in a band [Connersvine] while I was playing in the NFL for a time, and had somewhat of a career there. And so when I [retired from the NFL], I had been a part of something that was successful. So it kind of made sense to jump into that and pour more effort into that. It was pretty natural.

How would you describe your style of music?

We get that question a lot. To give you a little bit of a backstory: There was a time when I was in a band that was signed to a record label, and they wanted very much to know who we were and what we were going to sound like. Every record, they wanted it to be the same thing. And when we started the Hunter Smith Band, the goal was to be independent and to write and perform what we wanted. When people say, “What genre are you?” I kind of sarcastically say, “We’re Indie-Euro-Folk-Pop-Rock-Country.”

I would say we are country rock.

“Indiana Moon” appears on your sophomore album, Story. Would you describe the style of that album? Whom would it appeal to?

If you listen, I think you’ll see it’s really a broad kind of thing. I’m a big storyteller. I kind of have an old soul in that sense, so I think there’s a lot of stuff that comes across to people who have children, people in their late 20s to 50s. But then we try to really have, sonically, some moments that appeal to people that are more into the indie-rock scene. And even some high school kids get into it. I feel like it’s musically mature, so I think it lands well on quite a few people.

The thought behind the album—if you listen through, you hear a narrative of stories. I feel like every song says something.

Are there any future plans for the Hunter Smith Band that we should know about?

We’re writing our third album, and we just continue to book shows. We’ve had a mantra from the beginning: Less will happen in one year than you want, but more can happen in five years that you ever dreamed. We’re in our fifth year, and we are seeing things happen if you told us were going to happen five years ago we might have not believed you. We’re going to keep on doing what we’re doing.

You can listen to “Indiana Moon” on Spotify, or catch the Hunter Smith Band playing it live at the Indiana State Fair (Aug. 8), Hoosier Homecoming (Oct. 15), and Statehood Day (Dec. 11). - Indianapolis Monthly


"Story" Released August of 2015.  4,000 in attendance for the album release party!  This sophomore album features the official song of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebrations, "Indiana Moon".



It's not every day when the front man of a popular country/rock band is also a Super Bowl World Champion. But for Hunter Smith, it's just one of the many twists and turns that led him to the stage.

After excelling in football at the University of Notre Dame, Smith was drafted to the Indianapolis Colts. He spent 12 years playing in the NFL.

Smith felt the musical pull very early in his life. His broad musical influences include:  Keith Urban, U2, Zac Brown Band, Kenny Rogers, Coldplay, Willie Nelson, Sawyer Brown, and Alabama. Probably not something you'd expect from a kid raised in a non-instrumental, a cappella church.  He taught himself how to play the guitar and began writing his own music at a very young age. 

In 2012, his dream became reality. The Hunter Smith Band released their first album, "Green." The band consists of four Indianapolis-based musicians hand-picked by Smith. Band members Justin Langebartels, Alex Reiff, Ethan Ehrstine and Kyle Whiteley all bring their own unique sound to the band.

Don't expect to put the Hunter Smith Band into one genre, or music "bucket". Part country, part rock, part pop, part alternative, ALL exceedingly entertaining and original. Expect energy, musicianship, and rootsy storytelling by lead singer, Smith.

Their sophomore album, "Story," was released in 2015 and has been embraced by independent radio and a rapidly growing loyal fan base. Look Ahead. It's the theme of this album, and a theme for Smith's life. "There's something country there, but there is nobody cooler in the pop sense than Keith Urban," he said. "That's kind of where we fall, in that genre. There's one foot in country. We're something and country."

That "something and country" is working very well, stylistically speaking. Check them out at

Band Members