Roy Smith: Keeping his tempo

As he gets older, the Spring Garden Township man’s love for music hasn’t wavered, often turning to his guitar or other instruments as a retreat from everyday life.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Roy Smith (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

When there’s a stressful day on the job for Roy Smith, or a problem he can’t fix, he turns from his desk, grabs an instrument and drifts into a different dimension.

“Playing music occupies the part of your brain that thinks about problems and stress,” Roy says. “If I’m with my family and I have a problem, my brain multitasks. But if I’m playing guitar, it requires the focus of the brain and that’s very beneficial.”

In the more than four decades he’s jammed on a guitar, he’s performed in front of large crowds at the York Fairgounds and played background tracks for popular artists in Philadelphia. The 60-year-old still finds himself hitting up the open mic scene and recording tracks in his Spring Garden Township basement.

It’s a basic part of my makeup. I couldn’t imagine not doing it.

Roy Smith

He bought his first guitar at 13 – a $50 hollow body Harmony guitar with a tobacco sunburst paint job.

Despite his talents, Roy never went on tour. He doesn’t regret it – he played with talented musicians in college and said that was “a turning point” for him. His biggest regret lies in trading that sunburst guitar.

He believes he’s owned hundreds of guitars over the decades.

“It’s like a woman with shoes,” Roy jokes. “Each one is a little different. The guitar is a piece of art.”

As he gets older, his love for music hasn’t wavered. He performs with his band Groovatine regularly, and picked up playing the keyboard, bass and other instruments.

“It’s a basic part of my makeup,” Roy says. “I couldn’t imagine not doing it. At a certain point, I’d just feel weird that I wasn’t playing music, and I’d fix that.”

Sponsored by

SpiriTrust Lutheran provides exceptional health, human and senior living services by supporting persons in achieving an optimal quality of life.
1050 Pennsylvania Ave. York, PA 17404

Get Neighbors of Our York in your inbox: Every Thursday at 9 a.m., we’ll email you a full version of the latest “Neighbors of Our York” profile. You subscribing lets us know you like and value what we’re doing.