The Amazing Rhythm Aces originally were formed in 1974 by a Memphis-based partnership of bassist Jeff Davis and drummer Butch McDade, former sidemen of singer/songwriter Jesse Winchester. The group could never be considered strictly country, blending together a variety of pop and blue-eyed soul elements clearly represented in the 1975 hit penned by Smith entitled "Third Rate Romance." Well into the late '80s this ditty continued to be required on the set list for country-rock cover bands.
Smith's songwriting career continued well past the band's status being perceived as less than amazing by audiences in the '80s. His songwriting partners have included Dave Gibson, Carol Chase, John Jarrard, Gary Nicholson, and Thom McHugh. A series of albums under his own name began in the late '70s with the self-titled Russell Smith; in 2001 a retrospective entitled Sunday Best: The Cream of the Solo Albums skimmed over high points of material from these efforts. ~ Eugene Chadbourne