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TV Program Features Musician Arthur Smith

BOONE—Musician Arthur Smith, who composed the banjo instrumental “Dueling Banjos” – the all-time bestselling banjo instrumental – and hosted the nation’s first country music TV program, is the latest guest on “Appalachian Perspective” cable television program.

In the program hosted by Appalachian State University’s Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, Smith talks about his rich career in the entertainment industry.

He also performs his 1945 hit record, “Guitar Boogie,” with his son Clay.

Also appearing on the program is Grandfather Mountain’s Hugh Morton, Smith’s close friend for 56 years. Smith directed Grandfather Mountain’s “Singing on the Mountain” festival for 30 years.

Smith, a long-time resident of Charlotte, created and hosted the television program “The Arthur Smith Show” from WBT for more than 30 years. His program, which became nationally syndicated, spotlighted the biggest music artists of the time, including Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Chet Atkins, George Beverly Shea and Pat Boone.

He also hosted TV’s “Carolina Calling” and “Top of the Morning” radio program.

Although known widely as a radio and television host, Smith considers himself primarily a composer.

“I love to write a song, then produce it and see if the public will buy it. Fortunately, we’ve done a few they would buy,” he says on “Appalachian Perspective.”

Smith’s “Guitar Boogie” was the first guitar instrumental to climb the country music charts, then crossover to climb the pop charts. Smith’s guitar style patented in “Guitar Boogie” has influenced significant artists of all music genres, including Glen Campbell, Eric Clapton and Tom Petty.

Smith has written inspirational songs for Johnny Cash and George Beverly Shea, and scored music soundtracks for 12 major motion pictures.

The song “Dueling Banjos,” originally written and recorded by Smith in 1955 as “Feuding Banjos,” was re-named and claimed by Warner Brothers for the theme of the 1973 movie “Deliverance.” Smith sued Warner Brothers and won a landmark copyright infringement case.

Among his many honors, Smith received the North Carolina Arts Council’s Folk Heritage Award. He has been inducted into the State of North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine and the N.C. Association of Broadcasting’s Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

The episode titled “Entertainer Arthur Smith” starts airing Dec. 5. “Appalachian Perspective” can be viewed in Watauga County on Charter Communication Channel 21 weekdays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., except for Dec. 22-Jan. 2, 2006. It can also be viewed on Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on MTN’s Channel 18 Friday evenings.

“Appalachian Perspective” is a production of the university’s Office of Public Affairs and Department of Communication.

For more information and to view video clips of “Appalachian Perspective” interviews, visit www.perspective.appstate.edu.

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