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Richard Smith was born in Beckenham, Kent, England in 1971. He started learning guitar aged five, and it was soon clear that he was a talented child prodigy. Concentrating initially on the music his father loved – the country picking of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis – young Richard digested everything he heard. It seemed that, not only did the boy possess physical skill, but a photographic musical memory as well. Often, a single hearing was all it took to get a piece under his fingers.