Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quadriplegic Doug Smith's new song

A new song composed by Petersburg native and pianist Doug Smith, called “If I Could Fly,” will be heard by the public for the first time today.

The instrumental — produced, arranged and mixed by Alan Crossland, owner of Route 1, Acuff Studio — is heard within a music video that will precede every movie shown at the Science Spectrum’s Omni Theater, 2579 S. Loop 289.

That includes today’s much anticipated premiere of heralded documentary “Tornado Alley.”

Smith remains confined to a wheelchair.

That has not changed since being diagnosed as an incomplete quadriplegic after rolling his 2004 Toyota Tundra truck on rural FM 789 in the middle of the night on July 25, 2007, then hanging upside down in the truck cab for hours until being found.

Gaining use of even a few fingers demanded an excruciating amount of time, not to mention will power, but Smith said, “There was a point when I got so burned out on my physical therapy and the occupational therapy. What ended up bringing me back was my piano.

“Mentally, physically, spiritually, I credit the piano. There has to be some sort of paradox in the thing that almost cost me my life also ending up saving my life.

“When I wrecked my truck,” he explained, “I was a selfish person, chasing the music business dream.”

Smith first became excited about “If I Could Fly” in 2009, stating in an A-J interview then that parts of the composition “just give me feelings of flight.”

At the time, Smith said that he had rehabbed himself to the point where he “can play three-note changes fairly well, and four-or five-note changes awkwardly well.”

He noted this week that what has improved is his ability to compose. Even when he could not move a finger, said Smith, “New music kept coming to me. My brain never stopped working.

“My hands are not what they used to be. I’ll never be able to play ‘Passion’ or ‘West Texas’ again. But now I play in a different way. I’m able to at least get a melody out there, and then surround myself with great musicians.


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