Knoxville, TN - Visit Knoxville, WDVX-Radio and the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound - Knox County Public Library are hosting an event Friday, December 9th to celebrate songwriter Arthur Q. Smith. The celebration will begin with a marker dedication and continue with entertainment at The Emporium Center. Recognizing Smith’s role in Knoxville’s contributions to Tennessee’s rich musical history, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett will be on hand to dedicate the Arthur Q. Smith marker on the Cradle of Country Music Walking Tour produced by Visit Knoxville.
Knoxville songwriter Arthur Q. Smith (James Arthur Pritchett) set up shop at the Three Feathers Sandwich Shop and Tavern, then located at 101 South Gay Street, where he wrote a number of hit songs - often selling them to the cast and crew of WNOX to pay his bar tab. Many received credit for Smith’s great work, and, in turn, Smith became the man behind the scenes.
Smith passed away in 1963. Now, after decades of undeserved obscurity, Smith’s contributions are being celebrated. “We first learned about Arthur Q. Smith when we reached out to Bradley Reeves and Jack Neely regarding updates to the Cradle of Country Music Walking Tour,” states Angie Wilson, marketing director for Visit Knoxville. “The timing was perfect as we learned of the book and CD release.”
The Bear Family Records label has produced a double CD set, including a 124 Page biography on Smith written by Bradley Reeves and Wayne Bledsoe. Entitled “Arthur Q. Smith: The Trouble With The Truth”, the set features an introduction by honky-tonk man Marty Stuart, and is packed with rare photos from Knoxville’s golden era of country music. The compact discs feature hit recordings of Smith’s songs by artists such as Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Ray Price, and many others. Disc two contains rare commercial recordings and lost acetate demo discs recorded by Arthur Q. Smith himself.
Schedule of Events for Friday, December 9th will all be at the Emporium. Special thanks to the Arts and Culture Alliance for letting us use this venue.
4pm: Arthur Q. Smith Marker Dedication at the corner of Gay Street and Jackson Avenue
6 pm – 7 pm: Rare Knoxville Films from the Vaults of the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound Presented by TAMIS Archivist Eric Dawson
Roy Acuff’s Open House (1960)
Carl and Pearl Butler’s Personal Home Movies, 1950s-1960s
Arthur Q. Smith: The Mystery man of Country Music
Chet Atkins and the WNOX Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round
7 pm – 7:20 pm: Introduction by Bradley Reeves, WDVX-Radio
A Tribute to Chet Atkins: Performed by master guitarist Larry Odham, and Jack Cate, former bassist for Don Gibson on WNOX-Radio
7:20 pm – 7:30 pm: Introduction by Bradley Reeves, WDVX-Radio
Classic duets of Carl and Pearl Butler
Performed by Nancy Brennan Strange and Steve Horton
Includes “If Teardrops Were Pennies” and “Don’t Let Me Cross Over”
7:30 PM – 7:45 pm: Screening Introduction by Bradley Reeves, WDVX-Radio
Highlights from the lost Jim and Jesse McReynolds Television Show, circa 1970
Recently-preserved and long-unseen footage includes performances of “Knoxville Girl”, “Air Mail Special”, and more. Restoration work by Larry Odham.
7:45 pm – 8:30 pm: Introduction by Charlie Lutz, WDVX-Radio
Tim Stafford and Bobby Starnes
Bluegrass legends Jim and Jesse McReynolds broadcast over WNOX during the 1950s, and recorded scores of classic LP’s through the years. McReynolds fondly recalls Arthur Q. Smith during his stint in Knoxville, and in fact, will be featured on the WDVX Blue Plate Special at 12:30 pm on December 9th!
8:30 pm – 8:45 pm: Introduction by Charlie Lutz, WDVX-Radio
A Solo Performance by Tim Stafford, award-winning member of the group Blue Highway
Stafford will perform Arthur Q. Smith’s classic “I Wouldn't Change You If I Could”, along with an original composition of his own!
8:45 pm – 9 pm: Introduction by Bradley Reeves, WDVX-Radio
The Tennessee Stifflegs
Multi-talented local favorites The Tennessee Stifflegs will perform their rendition of Arthur Q. Smith’s rare 1947 King label recording of “You Can’t Hide A Heartache With A Smile”.
9 pm – 9:10 PM: Introduction by Amy Campbell, Artist, WDVX-Radio host
The Appalachian Hippie Poet: Knoxville Recitations
9:15 pm – 10 pm: Introduction by Wayne Bledsoe, WDVX-Radio, Knoxville News-Sentinel
The Barstool Romeos Show Closer
Featuring a rowdy, fun, and unique mixture of Honky Tonk Rock, the Romeos carry on the great tradition of Knoxville’s music heritage.