High octane McBride-Smith hopes to entertain crowd

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oklahoma storyteller Barbara McBride-Smith might best be described as a female Donald Davis. She’s high energy. She runs on high octane and she never runs out.

When Barbara McBride-Smith steps to the microphone, like Davis, the Dean of Storytelling, she’s off and running, taking the audience right along with her.

Or, perhaps, “a live wire” might be a better way to describe McBride-Smith.

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“Things are always popping when she’s on stage,” said Lawrence Bowden, president of the Brundidge Historical Society, sponsor of this weekend’s Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in Brundidge and Troy.

McBride-Smith appeared at the Pike Piddlers Storytellers Festival in 2011 and had been scheduled the year before but was iced-in in Oklahoma.

“When things thawed out, she came and was the featured performer at the June Buggin’ at the We Piddle Around Theater,” Bowden said. “Everyone will remember her performance, ‘Hello Ricky Nelson, Goodbye Heart,’ which was a nostalgic look back at the life and times of a teenage idol.”

Bowden said that the performance was vintage Barbara McBride-Smith.

“She had us laughing and crying and almost at the same time,” he said.

McBride-Smith is said to remind listeners of a fire and brimstone preacher.

“She will wake you up,” Bowden said. “And, no matter what story she tells it’s with a Texas-born cheerleader’s perspective.”

Barbara McBride-Smith serves up sweet truth with a side of Southern grit. Through her stories, she takes you on a journey through your life as it intersects with hers and brings you back home to yourself, Bowden said.

“We’re all looking forward to a Barbara McBride-Smith -guided journey,” he said. “It will be a trip you’ll long remember.”

Born and raised in Texas, Barbara McBride-Smith learned the craft of storytelling from her two deaf sisters, who “communicated with their entire beings,” and her parents, known by all as the “natural born keepers of the family lore.”

Barbara McBride-Smith is a popular performer and keynoter at hundreds of festivals and conferences across the country. She has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee seven times and the International Storytelling Festival in Washington D.C. Her international travels include performances in Greece and Turkey.

She was awarded the prestigious John Henry Faulk Award for outstanding contributions to the art and folkway of storytelling. In 2000, she was inducted into the National Storytelling Association’s Circle of Excellence.

Concert times for the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival at the Trojan Center Theater Saturday are 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ($15). The Friday night and the Saturday 2:00 p.m. concerts are sold out. All concerts feature pre-show music 30 minutes prior to the storytelling concerts and stories by all four tellers.

Tickets are available at studio 116 on Main Street in downtown Brundidge and The Messenger in Troy or by calling 334-735-3125 or 334-670-6302 or 334-685-5524.