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     "I believe my steps are growing wearier each day, still I have a journey on my mind.  Hurts of this old world have ceased to make me want to stay, but my one regret is leaving you behind."  These amazing words are the beginning verse of Terry Smith's most famous song "The Far Side Banks of Jordan.'  The song has taken this incredible songwriter on a road in life he certainly didn't expect to take. Born in Cordell, Oklahoma, and growing up in Denton, Texas, songwriting was not one of his early aspirations.  He studied hard in school which led him to his lifetime profession, being an English teacher.  He also coached baseball teams in the school systems of both Texas and Tennessee.  He moved to Nashville to better his opportunities in the very competitive songwriting field, but he still retained his 'day job' of being a very proficient teacher.  In his spare time, what little he had, he presented his songs to anyone who would listen.  "I've pitched songs to everyone from country artists of the day to the Texas Rangers baseball team and Captain Kangaroo.  The good, the bad, the ugly," as Terry says about the more than 2,000 songs he has written.
     "The Far Side Banks of Jordan" has been recorded by more than 300 artists, the most famous being Johnny and June Carter Cash. Johnny and June recorded their first version of the song in the 70's. June recorded it on her album "Press On," her first solo album in nearly 24 years in 1999.  Then she and, by then her husband, Johnny Cash, re-recorded the song in 2000 which won a Grammy.  The song was featured in Robert Duvall's movie "The Apostle" not once, but twice, and from that time forward it has become a sort of national anthem to married couples, fearing the moment when they leave this earth, and leaving behind a dearly beloved partner.  The Cash's both died in 2003.  The National Old Time Music Festival was still taking place in Avoca, Iowa, at that time, and Terry Smith was already an active participant in that festival from the late 80's.  He's been on every festival that Bob & Sheila Everhart has produced, ever since.  Terry Smith's career as a songwriter has never paled.  He's recorded 13 albums to date, all of them containing his precious original songs.  His most recent being a tribute to veterans, which contains the line "He traded all of his tomorrows so we can have today."  Incredibly introspective, and certainly filled with appreciation for veterans who have given their lives so that we might enjoy the freedoms we have today, is not a shallow topic.  Terry Smith is one of the most beloved and highly respected traditional country music songwriters living today.
     Bob & Sheila Everhart who have nurtured Terry's performance career in the upper Midwest since the late 80's, will be performing with him at their Oak Tree Opry in Anita, Iowa, on July 28 & 29.  The theater is small, and the fans of Smith are more than it can accommodate, therefore two performances, both beginning at 7pm, are required.  He will not only perform his most successful song "The Far Side Banks of Jordan" and his tribute to veterans, he will also be performing the Everhart daughter's favorite Terry Smith song, "The Little Brown Dog and the Little Green Frog."  Another introspective song which reveals Smith's own observations about 'getting along' in life with many different kinds of people.
     The Everharts have recorded six albums for the Smithsonian Institution, including their version of "The Far Side Banks of Jordan." According to Bob Everhart, "We did record the song, but I don't think I was as observant of the 'feelings' of elderly folks in love with each other, at the time.  But now that I'm 81 years old, I certainly do understand, and certainly do agree with the words, exactly as Terry Smith wrote them. So does my wife Sheila."
     Both acts will have CD's available at the concerts.  Reserved seats are highly recommended since Terry Smith attracts such a large audience of upper Midwest rural folks who have a special attraction to not only his songs, but his stage presence as he performs them. 712-762-4363 is the number to call for these concerts, part of the annual summer season of the 501(c)3 non-profit group the Everhart's created and still operate.  Their mission, 'to save as much of the older styles of upper Midwest country and rural music as we can."
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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