Smith, Country Music record producer, music visionary, and
concert producer who brought Willie Nelson's recent Fourth
of July Picnic to the Fort Worth Stockyards, died Saturday
from complications of a heart attack. He was 47.
Born on Dec. 3, 1956, Rick
is a graduate of Haltom High School in Haltom City, Texas, a
nearby suburb of Fort Worth.
In 1998, Rick collaborated
with Billy Bob’s Texas in the Fort Worth Stockyards to start
a series of live recordings at the legendary and award
winning honkytonk. Bringing in state of the art recording
equipment, Rick made the Billy Bob’s stage a live studio
that would capture the essense and feel of being in the
front row. The first artist he selected to spearhead this
endeavor was the relatively unknown singer / songwriter Pat
Green, a rising figure in the “Texas Music” scene. The next
night, Rick recorded country music legend and 1994 Country
Music Hall of Fame inductee Merle Haggard. From these two
projects, a company and vision was born. Future live
recordings included scores of popular and legendary Country
artists such as John Conlee, Roy Clark, Gary Stewart, Johnny
Lee Janie Fricke, Lynn Anderson, Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley,
TG Sheppard and many others.
Rick also was fundamental
in bringing exposure to many of the up & coming Country &
Alt-Country artists from Texas and Oklahoma. Cross Canadian
Ragweed, Cooder Graw, Kevin Fowler, Jason Boland & the
Stragglers, Deryl Dodd, and Jack Ingram all recorded live
albums for Rick and with each release, he helped spread the
“Sound of Texas” to those all over the world.
In 2001, Rick saw the
integration of DVD and music as an opportunity to give the
fan a front row view as well. The first DVD release was of
the wildly popular Country Outlaw, David Allan Coe. This
milestone for Rick and his company, Smith Music Group,
helped pave the way for future CD and DVD recordings which
featured 9 Time Grammy Award Winner Ray Benson and Asleep at
the Wheel, and American music icon Willie Nelson, the album
of which remained on Billboard's Top 200 for many months
after it's release.
Rick was also a huge
supporter of the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards in his
hometown of Fort Worth. With full support from the
Stockyards community, Rick came up with another great idea.
Concerts at the North Forty, the adjacent 40 acre field that
offered spectacular views of downtown Fort Worth as well as
the close convenience of shopping, restaurants, and
historical sites within the Stockyards. After a successful
event featuring Hank Williams Jr. in 2003, Rick in 2004,
brought legend Willie Nelson back home to Fort Worth and
brought Willie Nelson’s Annual 4th of July Picnic to the
Fort Worth Stockyards. The 31st annual event featured Willie
Nelson and re-united Willie with longtime friend and fellow
Texan Kris Kristofferson. Such legendary performers as Ray
Price, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Merle Haggard, Leon
Russell, David Allan Coe, Asleep at the Wheel, Ray Wylie
Hubbard, and Billy Joe Shaver played alongside such upcoming
artists as the Los Lonely Boys, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jack
Ingram and Jason Boland & the Stragglers. The event was a
huge success and was one of Rick’s proudest accomplishments
and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
"From the beginning, Rick
and Willie had a great relationship, and I think that's
because they're both guys who think outside of the box," Pam
Minick of Billy Bob’s Texas said.
Survivors include his son
Ricky Smith Jr of Fort Worth, his parents Gerald Smith Jr.
and Carol Smith of Grapevine; brothers Roger Smith of Fort
Worth and Randy Smith of Nashville.
In lieu of flowers, the
family has setup the Rick Smith "Spirit of Texas" Fund at
the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and asks that all donations be
sent to the address below.
A viewing will be held all
day Tuesday with the family accepting visitors Tuesday
evening at Greenwood Memorial Park at 5:00pm inside the
Greenwood Memorial Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be
held at 1st United Methodist Church in downtown Fort Worth
on Wednesday, August 11th at 3:00pm.
services, a procession will travel to Greenwood Memorial
Park for burial services.
3100 White Settlement Rd.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
1st United Methodist
800 West 5th Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Rick Smith "Spirit of
Texas" Memorial Fund
128 E. Exchange Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76106
here to share your stories of Rick with his Smith Music