MEET TERRY SMITH
"A Songwriter with a Different Touch"
Born in Oklahoma and reared in Texas, Terry Smith has been a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, since 1972, when he moved to pursue a songwriting career. By day, he taught school to put food on the table, and in the afternoons he walked the streets of Music Row, knocking on doors, visiting publishing companies, and pitching his songs. His persistence ultimately paid off.
Over the years his songs have been recorded by a wide array of artists. His most well-known composition is “Far-Side Banks of Jordan,”—from his CD Far Side Banks of Jordan—first released by Johnny and June Carter Cash and subsequently cut by over 300 other performers. This inspirational number (Terry calls it a love song with gospel overtones) has taken on a life of its own. It is frequently sung at memorial services, and excerpts from its lyrics can be found engraved on numerous gravestones around the country.
Not long after moving to Music City, Terry began recording his own songs, and to date has released thirteen albums of original material and one patriotic music video. Although Terry performed during the years he taught, when he retired from the classroom after twenty-nine years, he was free to follow wherever the musical trail beckoned. Music has taken him not only throughout the United States but also to France, Ireland, Austria, and New Zealand.
Whether performing by himself with only his guitar—as he frequently does in churches and smaller venues—or with a band, Terry fills his shows with a heavy dose of his original songs mixed with standard favorites. His humor, his stories about songs, and the various kinds of songs he sings give audiences an emotional roller coaster ride, often laughing during one song and crying during the next.
The motto of the National Songwriters Association is, “It all begins with a song.” Terry strongly believes that a performance is all ABOUT the song. When performing with a band, he frequently reminds them, “It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about the song! Let’s have fun during this show. But let’s not do anything to damage the integrity of the songs.”