Country Music Legend Shares Long Line Of Heartaches

This appeared on Voice Of America - October 5, 2011

None other than show business legend Dolly Parton once said that there were just three real female singers: Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, and Connie Smith. "The rest of us," she said, "are only pretending." Connie Smith has just released Long Line of Heartaches, her first album of new songs since 1998, and only her second since 1978.

When 23-year-old Connie Smith went into the studio in 1964 and recorded a song called “Once A Day,” no one had any idea it would go on to become one of the most celebrated singles in Country music history.

Connie Smith’s “Once A Day” was the first debut single by a female Country singer to go to Number One on the Billboard charts, a position it held for eight weeks. Forty-seven years later it is still the only debut single ever to have done that.

In the nine years after releasing her first song, Connie Smith put out a series of albums and released 20 Top 10 hits. She then turned her back on stardom and retired from recording and performing to raise a family, which makes Long Line of Heartaches all the more remarkable.

Now 70 years old, Connie Smith has lost little of what made her such a wonderful vocalist in the 1960s. Which is why producer Marty Stuart, who just happens to be Connie Smith’s husband, made the decision to put her tremendous voice front and center on her new recording.

“You And Me” is one of the five songs that Connie Smith co-wrote with Marty Stuart for the CD. For the rest, they relied on great tunesmiths including the late Harlan Howard and Dallas Frazier, who told Connie he hadn’t written any songs in about 30 years before coming up with “A Heart Like You”. Connie Smith says this is the 69th song of his that she’s recorded.

Long Line Of Heartaches was recorded in Nashville’s famous RCA Studio B, the same studio where Connie Smith sang her earliest hits. And in all honesty, this CD sounds much like a throwback to those days. These are "real" country songs, and the album sounds like it could have been recorded at any point of her five-decade career.

Critical raves for the new album are coming from reviewers all around the world. Over her long career, Connie Smith has been nominated for 11 Grammy® awards, but hasn’t taken home a single trophy. Perhaps her luck will change with Long Line of Heartaches.

By Katherine Cole

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