Smith leads local music award-winners
by Marie Nesmith
Sep 26, 2012 | 1144 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Garnering five accolades at the Sept. 2 ceremony, Cindy Smith made a name for herself at the Georgia Country & Gospel Music Association/Tennessee Country & Gospel Music Association award show. Along with winning CD of the Year in the country western and traditional country categories, the Cartersville resident also captured the Songwriter of the Year title for traditional country, gospel and country.

Looking back at her accomplishment, Smith extends thanks to her music teacher, Gerry Hall, and the Cartersville Songwriters Exchange for helping develop her talent.

“I’ve only been singing and playing guitar and writing for about six years and my teacher Gerry Hall, he is the one who has given me confidence and inspired me and just put me where I am today,” Smith said. “The Cartersville Songwriters Exchange, they gave me the opportunity to meet with other songwriters here in the area. We have [our own] workshops and one of my songs came out of that workshop, where we were all writing together.

“It’s called ‘Rosalita.’ I wrote it with a member, [Michael Joe Smith]. And then Randy and I have become a western duo [called Alias, Smith & Owens] and we’re doing really well with that,” she said, referring to Randy Owens who formed the CSE in early 2010.

Along with Smith, GCGMA/TCGMA data reports other local award recipients included Katelyn Honea, Entertainer of the Year for new gospel ages 13 to 16; Kaitlyn Hanks, Most Promising Vocalist and Entertainer, and CD of the Year for new country; Morgan Taylor, Most Promising Entertainer and Vocalist of the Year for new country, adult female; April Wehunt, Most Promising Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year for new country, adult female; Brian Bagley, Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year for traditional gospel; Dena' Bagley, Female Vocalist of the Year for traditional gospel; and Renewed Trio, Vocal Group of the Year, Video of the Year and CD of the Year.

“We have members that are not just from Georgia,” said Alisa Asbury, president of the GCGMA/TCGMA. “We have members from 12 other states. They’re competing with the top unsigned artists across the Southeastern states.

“Past winners and past members are Lauren Alaina — [she], last year won runner-up in ‘American Idol’ ... Jordan Rager who was on team Blake last year of ‘The Voice’ [and] Rachel Farley — she’s now on tour and opening across the United States with Jason Aldean. Those are some of our past winners that now have gone on and they’re famous.”

One of the next opportunities area residents will have to enjoy Smith’s music will be Oct. 6 at the 34th annual Chic-O-Pen Festival at White United Methodist Church, 3411 Highway 411 in White. With the event scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., she will join other artists — some of whom include Shawn Haney, The Jamersons and The Robert Vine Trio — in the entertainment lineup.

For Smith, performing at area festivals is a fun experience, which allows her to connect with country western fans. In addition to being one of the cast members on the “Old Time Radio Show” skit, she also will perform with Owens at the Chic-O-Pen Festival.

“It’s very fun and not only does it allow you up close and personal [contact] with the audience but you can look out and you can see people actually listening to you, paying attention and smiling,” Smith said about performing at area festivals. “When they smile at you, you cannot help but smile back at them when you’re singing and vice versa.

“If you smile at the audience while your singing, they look at you and they smile back and you know that you’ve got their attention. I love that. At any place I sing, I try to smile all the time when I’m singing because I look out there and they’re smiling right back at me. It’s just something you give away and you get right back.”