Harlan County native and the winner of Season 9 of the hit television show “The Voice” Jordan Smith was honored on Friday with the unveiling of signage to be posted on roads at the county line proclaiming Harlan to be his home.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley addressed a small crowd at the Fiscal Court room in the Harlan County Courthouse to reveal the sign.
“We’ve kept this under the radar,” Mosley said. “We’ve known about it for a couple of weeks, for the sake of time and for the sake of space, we wanted to keep it as low-key as we could.”
After a prayer by Magistrate Bill Moore, Mosley mentioned other Harlan County officials present included Commonwealth’s Attorney Parker Boggs, Circuit Court Judge Kent Hendrickson, Circuit Court Clerk Wendy Flanary, Magistrate David Kennedy, Magistrate James Howard, PVA Felicia Wooten and Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins.
“Jordan Smith means so much to the people of Harlan County,” Mosley said. “He’s the voice of Harlan County, but he’s turned into the voice of Appalachia.”
According to Mosley, Smith has already had a positive impact on tourism in Harlan.
“Today is a day to celebrate Jordan’s accomplishments, and forever stamp his name at the front doors of Harlan County as perhaps the most famous person to come from these hills,” said Mosley. “The signs we’re fixing to unveil will be at three different locations in our county.”
Mosley announced the signs will be located at the Harlan-Bell county line and the Harlan-Letcher county line on U.S. 119 and the Kentucky-Virginia state line on U.S. 421.
Mosley then brought Smith up to unveil one of the signs.
“That’s so cool,” Smith said as he and Mosley removed the cover from the sign. “I lived on the Harlan-Bell county line for 18 years until I went to college. Literally right on the line. I’m pretty sure it split my house. I would go to sleep in Harlan County and go grab some food from the kitchen in Bell County.”
Smith said he always knew he was home when he saw the Harlan County sign.
“Thank you,” Smith said. “This is really, really sweet — and cool.”
Smith told the crowd his album is due out on March 18.
“There’s going to be three different versions,” Smith said. “There’s going to be one version that’s 12 songs that will be available on iTunes, then there will be a specific version available at Walmart that will have two extra songs on it…and there’s going to be another version with two other songs on it for Christian bookstores…a total of 16 songs all together.”
Smith said it’s possible he will be at Walmart in Harlan for the release of the album.
“I co-wrote one of the songs,” Smith said. “There are three other originals on there that dear friends of mine that write allowed me to be the first to sing. The rest are covers.”
Smith then took questions and chatted with the crowd.
Smith also received the Harlan Countian of the Year award from the Harlan County Chamber of Commerce. He attended the Chamber’s annual Gala on Thursday, where he was presented with the award.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde.