Thursday, June 5, 2014 —
He said his message this year will be built around the words of some of the gospel songs Smith wrote. In addition to knowing and loving Smith, Ford said he and Graham often recorded the popular “Hour of Decision” Christian radio broadcast at Smith’s recording studio in Charlotte.
“I do plan to try to include some of Arthur’s songs and thoughts in this, because our faith is a singing faith,” Ford said.
“I am not promising to sing, but who knows? I might even break forth into song,” he said with a laugh.
Ford will be introduced by legendary Charlotte television anchor Doug Mayes, who helped Clyde McLean serve as announcer for "The Arthur Smith Show" and will share memories about Smith and his group.
The 2014 musical lineup includes a noon tribute to Smith by his son, Clay Smith, and "Brother Ralph" Smith's sons, Tim and Roddy, offering instrumentals with David Moody of The Moody Brothers.
Keith Dudley will sing several of Smith's most well-known gospel hymns, and George Hamilton IV, who performed with Smith for years, will break from his job as backstage host of the Grand Ole Opry to sing Smith's most famous hymn, "Acres of Diamonds." The Cockman Family of Sherrills Ford, N.C., will play a selection of Smith's secular hits to include "Dueling Banjos" and "Guitar Boogie."
The festival also includes performances by the The Rick Webb Family of Colfax, N.C.; The Sneed Family of Glasgow, Ky.; The Hurleys of Hickory, N.C.; the Bread of Life Quartet from Union County, N.C.; Michael Combs of Todd, N.C.; Patricia Smith of Bluefield, W.Va.; and Ernie Penley of Linville, N.C., who is the great-great-nephew of Singing on the Mountain founder Joe Hartley Sr.