Brent Smith On His Lynyrd Skynyrd Performance, ‘I’m Still Trying To Process It’

Shinedown’s Brent Smith’s path had crossed with Ronnie Van Zant while recording their ‘Leave A Whisper’ album. The lead singer came together with Lynyrd Skynyrd again and took the stage on November 13 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. On this occasion, Johnny Van Zant and Smith performed the band’s hit classic ‘Simple Man.’ Smith shared with Rock World that doing the song together was a very moving experience as he had so much history with the track.

When Shinedown started in the industry, their original guitar player, Jasin Todd, married Melody Van Zant, Ronnie Van Zant’s daughter. As if that wasn’t enough of a coincidence, Smith stayed at Ronnie Van Zant’s wife Judy’s guest house to finish the ‘Leave A Whisper’ album.

“It was extremely moving and a very special moment for me,” said the lead vocalist about the performance. “They’ve always been extremely cool with us and always were super positive about us doing the song. The way we did the song and how it happened was very organic. So things kind of come in a full circle.”

He continued, “It meant a lot to me. I’m still trying to process it in a lot of ways. But all the guys in Skynyrd have so much love and respect. I appreciate them so much for asking me to come and sing the song with them. It was a great night. I had a lot of fun.”

Ronnie passed away when they were recording Shinedown’s album. After his tragic passing, Smith decided to record a cover of ‘Simple Man’ to honor the Van Zant family and show their gratitude for their help by including it in the album’s deluxe edition.

The gesture was also made special by Johnny’s words of praise about Shinedown’s cover and the warmness he showed to Smith on stage. So the performance in Nashville that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant invited Brent Smith to was more than just two artists coming together; it held a profound, meaningful moment for the Shinedown singer.