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.