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Country Music Legend Passes Away At 83

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Country music has lost a legend.

The Tennessean reports that Hazel Smith, who is widely known as “The Mother of Music Row” has passed away at her home in Madison, Tennessee. Smith was an acclaimed country music journalist, publicist, songwriter, and was best known for coining the term “outlaw country.”

She worked for “Hillbilly Central” when she was going through the dictionary and created the term “outlaw country” in the 1970s to describe the music of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and more.

“Now, it doesn’t say this in mine or any other dictionary I’ve seen, but it said that outlaw meant virtually living on the outside of the written law,” the self-proclaimed “mother hen” of country music told The Nashville Scene in the late 90s, according The Tennessean. “It just made sense to me, because Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins were doing marvelous music, but this was another step in another direction.”

Smith was a passionate journalist, who always offered her honest opinion about country music. In fact, she was one of the first journalists to bring attention to Garth Brooks and received the Media Achievement Award from the Country Music Association in 1999 for her work.

She later wrote a cookbook called Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ with Country Stars, which included recipes from Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, and many more. She also wrote a weekly column for CMT called Hot Dish and hosted the channel’s program titled “Southern Fried Flicks,” which combined her love of food and country music.

Not only was she a respected TV personality and journalist, she was also a songwriter. According to Music Row, she has written over 175 songs. Tammy Wynette and Dr. Hook are among those who have recorded her songs.

Brad Paisley paid his respects to Smith on social media writing, “Nashville lost one of the most amazing people to ever grace our industry and town…Thank you for being you.”

CMT also tweeted their condolences for their “dear friend.”

Funeral arrangements have not been completely finalized, but the service will be held at Madison Funeral Home. She will be buried in North Carolina. Smith is survived by her sons Billy and Terry, as well as six grandchildren.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Smith’s family and friends during this difficult time.