Credit: Heidi Smith

WHO: Louisiana native PAYTON SMITH is a 21-year-old, multi-instrumentalist who CMT heralded a 2020/2021 Listen Up artist, MusicRow named to their Next Big Thing Class of 2021 and Taste of Country enlisted as one of2020’s Hottest Country Artists Under 25. He is known for his impeccable self-taught guitar skills and has amassed over 36 million streams worldwide with songs like “What It Meant To Lose You” and “Like I Knew You Would.” On his debut project, Payton played every part on each track just like his favorite guitar icons across the sonic landscape. Certain that his peers have equally varied musical tastes, the rising star brings a hybrid of his influences to the genre – every bit as much a fan of Pearl Jam and John Mayer as he is Clint Black and George Strait. Ahead of the event, Payton will release “This Ain’t That Song” on 2/26 via Big Machine Records.

WHAT: VOLthon is a student run organization at the University of Tennessee, which raises money for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Last year, VOLthon raised more than $152,000 for Children’s Hospital, ending the fundraising campaign in February 2020 with a live dance party. This is the first time VOLthon will host their main event virtually allowing for students to participate while complying with COVID-19 restrictions.

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s vision is Leading the Way to Healthy Children. Children’s Hospital is a private, independent, not-for-profit pediatric medical center which has served the East Tennessee region for more than 80 years and is certified by the state of Tennessee as a Comprehensive Regional Pediatric Center.

WHERE: Watch the live performance on the Riff app –

WHEN: Saturday, February 27 | 7:45-8:45P ET

WHY: “Raising money for Children’s Hospital means more to me than most people realize,” expresses Payton. “Children’s Hospital of New Orleans saved my younger brother Zachary’s life. His illness led to quadruple amputations and that meant many trips to the Children’s Hospital as a kid.  The impact that had helped me understand how much this place saves lives and changes lives.  Any opportunity to give, support and highlight what this place means to children and families, I’m all in.”

During his free performance, the guitar wunderkind will match up to $1,000 in donations, plus and Big Machine Label Group’s Music Has Value make a $1,000 contribution. To give, simply text ‘Payton’ to 51555 to receive a link to donate. All donations made to VOLthon will stay in our community, benefiting patients receiving care at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.


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