LifeNotes: Velma Smith

Steve Wariner and Velma Smith at the 2014 Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Induction Ceremony  in January 2014. Photo courtesy of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

Steve Wariner and Velma Smith at the 2014 Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Induction. Ceremony in January 2014. Photo courtesy of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

Velma Smith, one of Nashville’s first female session musicians, died Thursday (July 31) in Madison, Tenn. She was 87.

She was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame by Steve Wariner in January 2014, alongside Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy, Barbara Mandrell, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and a host of others.

According to the Musicians Hall of Fame, Smith was the first rhythm guitar player to record on albums in Nashville. In 1942, she joined Roy Acuff’s Smokey Mountain Boys as a bass player. She later played in bands for Carl Smith and Ernest Tubb.

She performed on records including Hank Locklin’s “Please Help Me, I’m Falling,” Connie Smith’s Connie In The Country, and recordings by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, and Porter Wagoner, among others.

In 1948, she married fiddle player Hal Smith, a fellow member of Acuff’s band and a music industry entrepreneur, who co-founded Pamper Music with Ray Price, among other ventures. Hal Smith died in 2008.

Funeral services for Velma Smith were held Saturday, Aug. 2 at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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