It's been a long and winding road, creatively, for Granger Smith and his just-released new album, "Dirt Road Driveway." The Texan recorded and produced the album himself over the course of ayear. "So, there's a long year that goes by without anyone hearing the material."
Smith can rest assured that his new music should find favor with listeners. "Dirt Road Driveway" is full of music designed to help him break his career wide open outside the borders of the Lone Star state. A key track on the album is the romantic "I Am The Midnight."
Of the cut, Smith says "That's one of the deepest songs on the album. A lot of my songs I write in the morning, while drinking my morning coffee – that's when my head is the clearest. That was one of the few late night songs. I've had this different kind of scenario about songwriting over the past few years – we see a lot of late nights and transitions from Saturday night into Sunday morning."
That's what that song is – all the different forms of the late night animals. Some people are living the midnight out of desperation, some are burning the midnight oil working, and some have been asleep for four hours now. There's so many different ways to look at it, and I thought that would be a cool way to approach the song."
Nostalgia also plays a huge role on the album, especially on "19 Forever," which was inspired in part by a family member. "I think it's fun to live in the happy place in our mind of the good old days. That kind of reflects in country songwriting. I've done that several times on my records. I have a brother -- we call him ‘The Caboose' of the family, he's nineteen years old, and he was a lot of the inspiration for '19 Forever,' as I'm looking at him from age 33."
Also included on the album are a couple of cuts from Smith's humorous alter-ego, "Earl Dibbles, Jr." When asked how he shifts from serious to not-so-serious, he says "That's what makes Dibbles so fun for me and such a release. When you're driving down the road, and you're trying to stay on that path, it's easy to swerve off and go on the rumble strip. Dibbles allows me to veer off, hit that rumble strip a few times, and go a few places where you're not supposed to go. It makes him open and easy to connect to, from a fan standpoint."
The new album -- while released on Smith's Pioneer Music label -- also represents a shift in the marketing approach to his music, with a distribution deal with Thirty Tigers, a fact that excites the singer.
"It's something that we knew was coming, we just didn't know when. We knew when we were ready, we'd go to Thirty Tigers. You just have to make some kind of splash – if you want national distribution or your music in Walmart, Target, or Best Buy, you've got to know you're going to sell some copies of it, or you're in trouble. We knew our shows were picking up, and our fan base was growing, and our markets were increasing. We knew it was a good time to pair up with someone like Thirty Tigers and get it in the stores, and hopefully sell a few more than we would in the back of the truck."