Shari Smith is not easily summed up. I asked my fellow Working Title Farmers what title or job description they would give her and I got a multitude of answers from CEO to Mastermind to Creative Cruise Director. None of their clever descriptions quite fit and my hope is Shari takes that as a compliment.
Shari is a very fine writer. Her essays written in a colloquial southern style have charmed and informed many folks for more than a decade. She can work a “laughter to tears” arc better than any nonfiction writer I’ve read. You need look no further than her delightful memoir I Am a Town for evidence. That ability is a big part of what started Working Title Farm and continues to build it. If you’re going to attract, nurture, critique, and publish good writing, you had better be able to do it yourself.
Shari can tell a tale as well as anyone but beyond that, she really cares about good storytelling. Whether it’s prose, music, or art she will challenge you to look deeper until you find the good stuff. It makes perfect sense that she would start a business that was writer friendly. One fair and profitable for both writer and publisher. It makes even further sense that she would widen the circle to include a collective of writers, storytellers, songwriters, musicians, and artists.
So, if you see her on the mountain she loves just outside of Boone, NC tell her I said hello and pay attention because she’ll help you find something new to love. I have no doubt you’ll fall for the songwriter, author, or artist she turns you on to but I’m betting you’ll fall for Working Title Farm as well.
That’s why she runs the place.
~ Radney Foster
singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer
Eric Erdman, from Mobile, Alabama, was the first Working Title Farmer, collaborating with Shari since 2014 and being the only author, artist, or songwriter to have been a part of all five years of The Trio Project, writing nine songs based on books he read, performing and producing many others. Eric currently tours with his guitar performing his original songs, plays electric guitar in the Buddy Rich Orchestra, and is the Musical Director for the upcoming radio show, The Working Title Farm Radio Hour. He is widely rumored to be Shari’s favorite.
author, singer, songwriter, producer, actor
Radney Foster, from Del Rio, Texas, first made hits in Nashville, Tennessee as part of the duo, Foster and Lloyd. His debut solo record, Del Rio, Texas 1959 produced four Top 40 hits and established Radney as a literary songwriter, telling stories in song. He has written hits for much of Nashville including Keith Urban and the Dixie Chicks. He debuted as an author in 2017 with his collection of short stories and companion CD, For You to See the Stars, published by Working Title Farm. Radney is a three-year alumnus of the Trio Project, the host for The Working Title Farm Radio Hour, a selfless and giving soul, and unbelievably bossy in the kitchen at Working Title Farm.
writer, designer, editor, percussionist
Michael Robertson, from Charlotte, North Carolina, is Second-in-Command at Working Title Farm—which is what will happen if you’re the most talented and most responsible and funniest guy to show up on the mountain. Michael has played percussion with various acts and is known for his unique and inventive ways of “finding rhythm and sound” in house keys, piano parts, and other non-traditional instruments. He has designed for the Ryman in Nashville for 22 years, working with everyone from Paul McCartney to Chris Robinson, and serves as Chief Designer for Working Title Farm. Michael is a staff writer for The Working Title Farm Radio Hour, and is writing his first novel. He is the bread maker, the salmon smoker, and the barbecue chef, and isn’t nearly as bossy in the kitchen as Radney.
author, editor, staff writer
Dr. Nicole Sarrocco, from Pittsboro, North Carolina, is the author of two novels, Lit by Lightning and Ill Mannered Ghosts, both Trio picks, and a book of poetry, Karate Bride. Nicole, with two masters and a Ph.D., has taught Southern Cultural Studies and Creative Writing and worked in several bookstores so she knows all the secrets. She is on the writing staff of The Working Title Farm Radio Hour. She and Michael spend an inordinate amount of time talking about musical acts none of us have ever heard of.