TAKING LIFE SITTIN' DOWN

Anthony Smith churns out powerful songs from the couch in his mom's living room!

A lot of famous furniture ends up in museums. Tables from kings, lamps from queens. Heck, even Archie Bunker's chair from the '70s smash sitcom All in the Family is in the Smithsonian.

Given that, the couch in Anthony Smith's mom's house could one day end up in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

"I've written several songs sitting right on my mom's couch," declares Anthony with a chuckle, "including my current 'Half a Man' and other songs on my debut album."

Could it be something in the material?

"I don't know," belly laughs Anthony, who penned George Strait's "Run," Trace Adkins' "I'm Tryin'" and Montgomery Gentry's "Didn't I."

Anthony's sofa saga began in '99 when he was talking to Nashville song publishers before landing his record deal. "I took a tape of 10 songs I'd co-written to Scott Gunter at Almo Irving Music Publishing. He liked 'em, but wanted to hear songs I'd done by myself.

"Even though I'd already written several by myself, I decided to write some new songs. It was a holiday weekend and I went to my mom and dad's house in Oneida, Tenn. Oneida's a small town about 170 miles from Nashville. It's where I grew up in a great family with not a lot of money and, early on in my life, an outdoor toilet.

"I was sitting on their couch watching TV on the Fourth of July when this 'story' ran through my mind in a fraction of a second. It was basically the outline of 'Half a Man.' I grabbed the guitar and the melody instantly flowed out.

"It was done in about 30 minutes, which is rare for me. A couple of my favorite lines are I can build a fire using nothing but a stick and I can run a train 'til it runs out of track/With the weight of the world laid across my back.

"I took that song to Scott and another one I wrote called 'Infinity,' which is also on the album. And he signed me."

The kid from Oneida was on his way.

"I was kinda a loner growing up," he admits. "I'd play for hours by myself. My imagination took me everywhere. I'd pretend I was on missions for the government and things like that. And when I wasn't doing that, I was sitting on the porch playing the guitar."

Anthony's imagination and guitar eventually brought him success in Music City.

On a return visit to his mom and dad's house, he was sitting on that same couch when lightning struck again. "I jumped up and said, "Mom, I got this idea for a song. It's called 'Who Invented the Wheel.' I sat there and wrote the first two verses and the melody.

"The next morning back in Nashville, I had a writing session with Bobby Terry and Craig Wiseman. I wanted to write that song so bad I could taste it. So we finished it that morning."

"Who Invented the Wheel" is also on Anthony's If That Ain't Country debut CD.

So Anthony, what are you gonna do if your mom wants to redecorate and decides to get rid of that couch?

"I guess I better have a big hit so I can buy her all new furniture," he declares, "and rescue that couch for the writer's room in my house."

Good. That way it'll be available when the Country Music Hall of Fame calls.

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