Music Row Mainstay Hazel Smith Dead at 83
Hazel Smith died on Sunday (March 18) at her home in Madison, Tenn., at the age of 83. The publicist, journalist, songwriter and Music Row staple left an indelible mark on country music.
Born in North Carolina, Smith was the mother to two sons who both went on to pursue careers in music. Shortly after her divorce Smith — a music lover — was introduced to the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe, during a concert in North Carolina. A romance began and Smith would become the subject of several of his songs. She eventually moved to Nashville and it was there that she started her illustrious career that began as a publicist and blossomed to include jobs as a journalist, songwriter, radio and television personality and cookbook author.
According to the Tennessean, while Smith worked as a publicist on 19th Avenue S., she flipped through a dictionary and created the term "outlaw music." She felt it was an adequate description of acts like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and the Glaser Brothers, for whom she was doing publicity at the time.
"Now, it doesn’t say this in mine or any other dictionary I’ve seen, but it said that outlaw meant virtually living on the outside of the written law," Smith told the Nashville Scene in 1997. "It just made sense to me, because Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins were doing marvelous music, but this was another step in another direction."
Smith's writing would continue to be enjoyed throughout numerous publications including Country Music Magazine, a cookbook called Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ with Country Stars, and on CMT.com where she'd pen a weekly column called "Hot Dish."
Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.
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