The Madison Funeral Home will host a farewell to Hazel Smith this afternoon, Wednesday, March 21.
Known as “Country Music’s Mother Hen,” Smith was a legendary country-music journalist, Nashville booster, media maven and Music Row personality. She passed away on Sunday, March 18 at age 83 following several years of declining health.
She was a columnist for Country Music magazine, Country Weekly, Country Music Today and CMT.com. Between 2007 and 2013, she was the Host of the CMT TV series Southern Fried Flicks
Smith was also the author of the 2001 country-star cookbook Hazel’s Hot Dish. In promoting it, she did multiple appearances on the nationally syndicated TV series The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
At various times in her colorful career, she was a publicist, a manager and a syndicated radio reporter.
She was also a songwriter. Her works were recorded by Tammy Wynette, Dr. Hook, Bill Monroe, Brenda Lee, Ray Sawyer, Billie Jo Spears, IIIrd Tyme Out, Helen Reddy, Nana Mouskouri, The Whites and others.
Hazel Smith was the office manager for Ron Haffkine and Dr. Hook, for Ricky Skaggs and for Tompall Glaser’s “Hillbilly Central” recording studio. During her tenure at the last-named, she coined million-dollar marketing moniker “Outlaw Music” to describe Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and similar artists in 1970s.
Hazel Smith was born on May 31, 1934 in Caswell County, NC. She was a divorcee with two sons when she met Bill Monroe at a bluegrass festival. Their relationship brought her to Nashville. She inspired his song “Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine.” It later became a 1989 hit for The Kentucky HeadHunters.
Once in Nashville, she began publicizing Kinky Friedman, Glaser, Jennings, Dr. Hook and others. She rose to fame as the gossip columnist for Country Music magazine in the 1970s. Based on this, she became a Music Row fixture and, eventually, a mentor to Fletcher Foster, Robert K. Oermann, Chet Flippo & Martha Hume, Garth Brooks, Gillian Welch and more.
She was a relentless champion of her sons and their music. The Smith Brothers were signed to Epic Records and released their debut LP n 1990. Member Billy Boone Smith is now a popular solo entertainer. Brother Terry Smith is a member of the award-winning bluegrass band The Grascals.
Hazel Smith was given the CMA Media Achievement Award in 1999. She was a SOURCE honoree in 2008.
Her visitation will take place at Madison Funeral Home, 219 E. Old Hickory Boulevard, Madison, Tennessee 37115, from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
She will be laid to rest at Camp Springs United Methodist Church, 9168 Cherry Grove Road, Reidsville, North Carolina 27320, on Saturday.
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