Big Smith features family ties in songs


The Manhattan Arts Center is in the middle of its 15th annual BirdHouse Acoustic Music Series, which features several bands from various genres and styles of music.

As part of the series, the arts center hosts four shows during the fall and four shows during the spring, with different bands or solo artists performing each time.

Stephen and Deloris Berland hosted Saturday’s featured band, Big Smith.

The band members of Big Smith, who live in Springfield, Mo., said they are an Ozark hillbilly band. The band members are related as either siblings or cousins.

Robbie Bear, booking agent for the center and instructor in biology, said he brought Big Smith to Manhattan for a couple of reasons.

“They have quite a bit of following around the area,” Bear said. “I heard them three or four years ago for the first time and really enjoyed their music.”

The audience was made up of about 60 or 70 people. They gave a loud applause followed each song.

As part of the performance, the band displayed a slide show of family photos on the stage background.

Each band member gave the audience a brief description of the photos. They also described the meaning or story behind each song.

The arts center had its regular art galleries open and available for viewing before and after the concert. There was also a bar that served alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Tips received at the bar were donated to the sponsors to bring in more bands.

For more information about the acoustic music series, visit the center’s Web site at