NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) – Russell Smith, singer, songwriter and co-founder of roots-rock band Amazing Rhythm Aces, passed away Friday at age 70 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
The news of Smith’s death was announced by the band in a heartfelt Facebook post.
Born in Nashville but raised in Lafayette, Tennessee, Smith was known for his gritty voice, witty lyricism and for his ability to move seamlessly between a multitude of genres including country, southern rock & roll, bluegrass, gospel and soul.
Beyond fronting the Grammy-winning Aces, who were best known for their pop-country Top 20 hit, “Third Rate Romance,” Smith cracked country’s Top 40 as a solo artist with his song “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” As a songwriter, he co-penned No. 1 hits for Randy Travis (“Look Heart, No Hands”), T. Graham Brown (“Don’t Go to Strangers”), Ricky Van Shelton (“Keep It Between the Lines”) and Don Williams (“Heartbeat in the Darkness”). His songs were also recorded by Tanya Tucker, Rosanne Cash, Kenny Rogers, the Oak Ridge Boys and numerous others. Additionally, Smith led Run C&W, a novelty bluegrass supergroup that also featured the Eagles’ Bernie Leadon and songwriters Jim Photoglo and Vince Melamed.
Smith’s son Matthew has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made on his father’s behalf to the Macon Country High School in Lafayette to support the school’s marching band program.