Acoustic Smoke, based in Bemidji MN, runs the gamut from Blues to Rock to Folk, and Gospel in the music they write, record and perform. Holt's rich melodic blues voice, paired with Hershberger's thick rhythmic guitar creates a powerful, minimalistic, driven sound that appeals to a broad audience. Their self produced first album One Kind Favor relied heavily on traditional gospel blues songs well known in the deep south. The emotional, earthy record garnered some attention from local radio both public and private, as well as venue owners and a smattering of varied promoters.
Holt and Hershberger remained largely in Bemidji gathering a following and honing their skills while quietly writing their second album which would be a major departure from the raw sound of the first. Once written, the new project was presented to the Minnesota Region 2 Arts Council seeking support in the form of a grant. Having also attracted a private donor, the project, titled Leave Better Than You Are, was enthusiastically embraced by the council and fully funded for the 2012 concert season.
With the award under their belts the duo now found breaking out of the small Bemidji scene easy as doors opened to them across Northern Minnesota. They made increasingly common appearances for live interviews and studio sets at radio stations across the north land. News papers began to publish reviews of the band and major venues such as Fitger’s Brew House and Amazing Grace in Duluth brought them in. In early 2013 the band was picked up by the Brian Carlson Talent Agency out of Grand Rapids MN. The next year Alex Cloud joined them on drums helping them write and record their third ablum Hard Winter.