As next Saturday’s Second Annual Hometown Heritage Stampede event is winding down in the central square, things a couple of blocks away will just be getting started.
2011 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Connie Smith, along with her band The Sundowners, makes her return to Texas Opry Theater next Saturday for two shows, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets in three price ranges – $25, $35 and $45 – are available for both shows. Also performing is Michael Hix and Texas Opry’s own Amazing Made In Texas Showtime Band.
The theater is located at 319 York Ave., just south of the historic county courthouse. Tickets can be purchased online at texasoprytheater.com or by calling 817-341-1000.
Smith was born to sing on Aug. 14, 1941, in Elkhart, Ind. Although originally from Indiana, she spent her early years around Hinton, W. Va., and then grew up in southern Ohio. Following her high school graduation, she began singing locally at area frolics and on area television shows. It was at the country music park, Frontier Ranch, near Columbus, Ohio, where Smith met Anderson, a Grand Ole Opry star.
Anderson heard her perform and was impressed with her singing. Six months later Anderson invited her to Nashville to be a guest on the “Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.” Within a year following her first visit to Music City, Connie was signed to RCA Victor Records by Chet Atkins and released the first recording of her career. The song, “Once A Day,” topped the charts at number one, where it stayed for an unprecedented eight weeks.
Smith’s recording of “Once A Day” became the first debut single in country music history by a female artist to reach number one, a record that Smith maintained for the next 25 years. Her self-titled LP also reached number one, and served as the first of more than 50 albums Smith has recorded to date.