Cal Smith was born Calvan Grant Shofner on April 7th, 1932 in Gans, Oklahoma. Best known for the songs “Time To Pay The Fiddler”, “Country Bumpkin”, “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own” and “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking”. Smith died Thursday, Oct. 10, in Branson, Mo. He got his show business start as a DJ in California while playing in a band. Pictured here second from left along with Jack Greene and band leader Earnest Tubb.
He appeared on the California Hayride television show in the mid-1950s before being asked to play guitar for Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. Smith parted ways with Tubb and the Texas Troubadours in 1969 and he released his first solo album, Drinking Champagne. In 1974 Cal Smith’s “Country Bumpkin” won both the Country Music Association’s song of the year and single of the year.
Peter Cooper of the Tennessean writes “Don Wayne wrote “Country Bumpkin,” after being critiqued by a publishing industry professional as being too country: “Nobody wants to hear about that frost on the pumpkin,” was the criticism. Wayne wrote of a man who met a woman who teased him, “Hello, country bumpkin/ How’s the frost out on the pumpkin?”
“And then the story just unfolded,” Wayne told author Philip Self in “Guitar Pull: Conversations With Country’s Legendary Songwriters.” “I thought to myself, ‘Man, I’ve stumbled on to a hit song here.’ But after thinking about it further, I thought, ‘This could be more than a hit song. This could be a great song, if I write what I’m seeing.’”
Cal Smith is survived by his wife, Darlene. He is survived by his wife, five children and 15 great-grandchildren.