Brent Smith Explains Shinedown’s Connection With Lynyrd Skynyrd

The music industry is filled with striking coincidences where the most unlikely musicians have mutual connections that bring them together. For instance, Shinedown’s Brent Smith gave the three different links he had with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant to Metal Hammer, which formed a band between them.

The singer shared ten top songs from his band, which has a special place for him, and one of those tracks was the ‘Simple Man’ cover from ‘Leave a Whisper.’ The main reason the song and the album held a vital spot was that Shinedown’s paths had uniquely crossed with Lynyrd Skynyrd at the time. Smith revealed, “Our original guitar player, Jasin Todd, was married to Melody Van Zant, [Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant’s daughter].”

He continued, “When I was writing ‘Leave a Whisper,’ Judy [Van Zant, Ronnie’s widow] put me up in her guesthouse, and our first show in front of an audience there to see us was at a club Judy and Melody owned.” Skynyrd helped Todd and singer Smith find musicians while working on their debut album’s demos. They recorded at Ronnie’s widow, Judy Van Zant’s studio, Made in the Shade, where Smith even stayed at the guest house during the recordings of ‘Leave a Whisper.’

The stars lined up for the two bands to come together, as these connections had made Shinedown’s journey easier to handle. The band wanted to pay tribute to the Van Zant family and show their gratitude for their help by releasing the Skynyrd song ‘Simple Man’ as the next single from their album.