Cal Smith / Rockin' Country Style

Cal Smith

Cal Smith emerged from Ernest Tubb's band and enjoyed several hits of his own between the late '60s and mid-'70s.
His best-known song was the sentimental "Country Bumpkin," but his gritty baritone voice was equally suited to more acid material such as "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking," a sharp denunciation of small-town religious self-righteousness.
Smith was born Calvin Grant Shofner in Oklahoma but grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. A guitar player since childhood, he spent time with rodeo performers as a teen and began to think about a show-business career. With the support of his parents, who believed he was less likely to get into trouble on stage rather than in the audience area of a barroom, he began playing professionally when he was 15, at a bar called The Remember Me Cafe. He was paid a dollar and 50 cents a night plus dinner, and his listeners were mostly migrant California vineyard workers.
It was a long time before Smith could make a living playing music, however, and he did jobs ranging from truck driver to bronco buster during the 1950s.

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