The water has been flowing freely in Texas over the past few days from the rain clouds, but today, the water is coming from the tears of many fellow West Texans over the loss of one of our true treasures, pianist and composer Doug Smith, who died in his sleep this week. (A complete list of Doug’s albums can be found at the end of the linked article.)
My family heard Doug play in person on several occasions, usually at church, and I also heard him in concert on another occasion, too. I’m not sure if any music has ever moved me so much as Doug’s music did over the years, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, especially today.
The news of his death also hit me yesterday as I remembered what a fan my mother was of Doug and his music. I remember taking her to buy some of his CDs at a local store here a few years ago and remember how thrilled she was to have them and listened to them so often. People young and old alike loved Doug and his music, it seems.
As an avid lover of both music and photography, I found his artistic collaboration with Texas State Photographer, Wyman Meinzer, to be a truly rare work of art that I probably won’t see again in my lifetime, and I think it will go down as one of the best representations of my West Texas home that will ever be created. Any visitor to our area can benefit from first watching this magnificent video to try to first understand the soul of the area and its people that these two gentlemen managed to capture so beautifully.
Often, when we go camping, we listen to Doug’s music. It is such a perfect fit when out in our beautiful Texas State Parks. Many scenes in the “West Texas” video are from those state parks that we visit so often, too. Today, I broke down in tears watching the video again and knowing that half of the artistic duo that created it is now gone from us. That speaks to the impact Doug and his music had on so many of us.
Please take a few minutes today or sometime soon to watch the two videos below. One is the video I spoke of above, the famous “West Texas” video, and the other is an eight minute documentary by Doug himself following his tragic car wreck in 2007 that paralyzed him and took away his ability to play the piano… temporarily. It is an epic story of overcoming adversity and is one that I think you will remember going forward, too.
You will see the West Texas video in its best quality by watching it in full screen mode.
I’m going to listen to Doug’s music this week as I go about my daily chores, and I will pray for his family and all that loved him. They are legion, and some of us feel that we’ve lost part of ourselves in his passing. We mourn both the man and his music today.
Today, it gives me comfort to know that the hands that Doug said he missed a few years ago are once again restored and that there is a piano in Heaven that is once again singing the tunes of the soul of West Texas at the hands of a master with a true gift from God who learned to play the piano by ear. And for all the many, many hours of enjoyment Doug’s music has brought to me, and will continue to do in years to come, I wanted to offer my own little tribute today in gratitude.