Liberty Pike Band

Tom Gray

Tom Gray is best known for his bass work with two iconic bands, The Country Gentlemen and The Seldom Scene. The configurations of both of those bands while Tom was a member were both inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame. Therefore, Tom is the only person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame two times.

Tom has played his bass fiddle on well over 100 recordings with  other artists including Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, Hazel  Dickens, Bill Clifton, The Federal Jazz Commission, and the Stanley Brothers.  He has gained a following among the other bassists attracted by his melodic bass lines. Tom has been voted the best bassist 8 times by 3 magazines. With several bands, he has played in most states of the U.S., in Canada, Japan and at many festivals. Tom can be seen conducting bass workshops.

Tom was born Feb. 1, 1941 in Chicago and raised in Washington D.C., where he attended George Washington University and became very active in the bluegrass music scene. At the age of 19, he began working as a cartographer for National Geographic, and started playing professionally with The Country Gentlemen. Tom would maintain both careers - music and maps - for a lifetime.

In 2012, the D.C. Bluegrass Union gave Tom its Washington Monument Award, acknowledging a lifetime of achievements in the local music scene.

Lisa Kay Howard-Hughes

Lisa Kay Howard has been playing bluegrass professionally across the US and Canada for 25 years. She started out at 14 in 1989 performing with her family band, Crooked Run, and later founded the DC-based band Badly Bent. She spent several years touring and recording with southern Maryland's Flying Blind Bluegrass, and Jay Armsworthy and Eastern Tradition. In 2007, she began fronting her own Lisa Kay Band in the region, and in 2013 she joined the group East Of Monroe, an Americana band that showcases original material. She also performs regularly and records with acclaimed children’s performer and recording artist Brooksie Wells, a selected artist with the Fairfax County Arts Council and Young Audiences of Virginia .
Lisa Kay is a 22-year veteran bluegrass radio host and concert MC, and hosts a show every Tuesday night on Washington DC-based WAMU's Bluegrass Country, which can be found online at or locally on 105.5 FM Reston, VA. She is the co-founder of the DC Bluegrass Union, an organization that promotes and encourages bluegrass in Washington DC and beyond, including extensive youth outreach. Lisa Kay holds a B.A. degree in Sociology with an Anthropology concentration from Mary Washington College in Virginia, and currently works in the training department of an FAA facility, training the instructors who teach air traffic controllers. She has also worked as a math and grammar tutor for grades K-12, including using a cutting-edge computer system called Play Attention designed to correct ADHD issues in children. The children use the power of their attention to make the games work effectively, employing sensors that read brain activity.

Wally Hughes

Wally Hughes is an excellent singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Delaware, now residing in Northern Virginia. Wally has been playing bluegrass professionally across the US and Canada for over 40 years.
Wally first started playing dobro on stage at 11 years old with the
family Bluegrass Band called the Hughes Family and then moved on to the fiddle and other instruments. For a number of years he fronted his own band in Delaware while recording and playing with other groups from the area as well. He is also a member of "Common Wealth" and "East of Monroe." 

He recorded and played in a band called Penn Central with Steve Huber in the early 80s and has performed with Mike Auldridge, Bill Emerson, Mike Munford and many other top DC bluegrass musicians since moving to Northern Virginia. Instructor at Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival's Kids Academy: Teaching Fiddle, dobro and guitar.

Joe Zauner

Joe Zauner was born in Washington, DC, and now lives in Maryland.  He has been playing bluegrass banjo and guitar since 1973.  Joe played in local bands in the DC metro area during college and law school, including the very popular “Stars & Bars” band which featured 7-time IBMA Bass Player of the Year award winner Missy Raines among its regular members.  Stars & Bars performed at all the major bluegrass music venues in and near Washington DC area and at bluegrass festivals in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.  Since 2009 Joe, Tom Gray and Jim Clark have performed at local DC area clubs and nearby bluegrass festivals as “Appalachian Flyer”.
Joe currently appears with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike as well as the Patent Pending bluegrass band, and he sometimes fills in on banjo and guitar with the Jeanette Williams Band.  Joe also performs in various musical configurations alongside 4-time Grammy-winning composer Louisa Branscomb.  He was selected to perform a cut on the “Patuxent Banjo Project”, a recently-released two-volume recording of tunes by influential and well-known banjo players in the greater Washington, DC area and his particular cut, “Angelina Baker” has received airplay on a number of bluegrass radio shows around the country.
While being a full-time practicing trial attorney, Joe has had the opportunity over the past 40 years to appear on stage with many well-known bluegrass music performers including Jerry Douglas, Buck White, Sharon and Cheryl White, Eddie & Martha Adcock, Roland White, Larry Stephenson, Pam Gadd, Randy Waller and the Dixie Beeliners.   For eight years between 2005 and 2012 Joe worked as a primary stage manager for the IBMA World of Bluegrass Fanfest main stage in Nashville, coordinating and expediting the appearances of as many as 12 to 14 major bluegrass acts each day. Joe, a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Maryland School of Law, is a collector of vintage bluegrass musical instruments as well as vintage American and English woodworking hand-tools.  In college he wrote the score for a two-act musical comedy performed at Georgetown University in Spring 1976 and also conducted the pit orchestra.

Where did the name, "Liberty Pike" come from?

The band is named after a historic road that runs through Bell Buckle, TN. Valerie calls this southern town (located just 30 miles from Nashville) her home. The civil war "Battle of Liberty Pike" is a location where Bell Buckle Records began.  Many history buffs visit the area to learn more about the history. Come visit and eat at the "Bell Buckle Cafe."

How does the band get together?

Valerie often flies to Baltimore, MD to meet with the band. She absolutely loves to make with these talented musicians  and looks forward to the opportunities to record, perform and rehearse with them. Valerie fell in love with the harmonies that she discovered with Wally Hughes and Lisa Kay Howard Hughes. Tom Gray is an award-winning bassist, and Joe Zauner is a seasoned banjo/guitar player. On top of those positive things, they are fun to travel with!