Scott County native Anthony Smith is returning to his roots this week, jump-starting the Memorial Day holiday weekend with an acoustic concert in Oneida on Friday evening.
Smith will take the stage at the Oneida Performing Arts Center at Oneida High School at 7 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and general admission is $20 at the door.
While he was not born in Scott County, Smith spent much of his younger years here, working at the Hartco wood flooring plant at one point before following his love of music to Nashville to pursue a career in the country music industry there.
Smith found success early as a songwriter. And while his lone studio album — 2002’s If That Ain’t Country — enjoyed great success, it is his songwriting ability that has kept Smith at the forefront of the Nashville country music scene.
If That Ain’t Country, recorded on the Mercury Nashville label, produced three Top 40 singles, including the title track, which reached No. 26 on the charts. The album itself peaked at No. 16 on the charts, and went on to produce two more Top 40 hits, including “John J. Blanchard” and “Half a Man.”
Multiple songs from that album, which were not released as singles by Smith, were recorded by other singers, including “What Brothers Do” (Confederate Railroad) and “Metropolis” (Sammy Kershaw).
Smith enjoyed songwriting success early on when George Strait recorded “Run” and Trace Adkins recorded “Chrome” and “I’m Tryin’.” Later, Montgomery Gentry recorded “Didn’t I” and Lonestar recorded “Without You,” while Smith also enjoyed album cuts with Faith Hill and Rascal Flatts. He won the Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year award at the 2002 Music Row Magazine Awards.
Following the release of his studio album, Smith signed a songwriting deal with BMI. It was a far cry from the young singer who had formed a house band called Sneaky Pete, and even from the aspiring Nashville star who had caught the attention of record label executives at the Broken Spoke — one of whom was Mercury Nashville’s Luke Lewis, which led to Smith’s deal with the label.
Smith’s songwriting success continued when Strait cut another of his songs, “Cowboys Like Us,” which turned into a hit and bolted to No. 2 on the charts. In 2007, Halfway to Hazard hit the charts with “Daisy” and Montgomery Gentry charted “What Do Ya Think About That.” Both were songs that Smith co-wrote. Montgomery Gentry’s song topped out at No. 3 on the Billboard charts.
“Kristofferson” was a Top 20 hit for Tim McGraw in 2008. It, too, was a Smith song.
Most recently, Blake Shelton recorded a Smith song, “Bringin’ Back the Sunshine.”
Smith has performed several times in Scott County over the years, including at the inaugural White Knuckle Event. He last appeared in concert here at the Oneida Performing Arts Center in June 2016.