Granger Smith has been a touring artist for close to two decades now, and his career has taken him all over the world. Still, between his current headlining tour and a stint opening for Luke Bryan this fall, he tells Billboard that he can’t remember ever being this busy. But he admits that the speed is rather intoxicating. “The past six years have probably been crazier and I have had more things happening than any other group of years in my career."
Smith, whose new record When The Good Guys Win is out today (Oct. 27), admits that there are times he feels guilty for being away from his family. At the same time, he says that he feels like he is a man on a mission -- and when the crowds respond to what he is doing, he knows he’s in the right place. “The stage and the audience never gets old. That’s the reward for working hard, and being away from the family. I know they’re back home, and I start questioning myself, and asking myself if I am being the best husband or father that I can be, or am I being selfish for being out on the road like this. Then, I walk out on stage at a show like that, and I see the reactions of people to the music. Then, I feel the responsibility that I need to be delivering music, and a release -- something to be able to be entertained. Then, it all starts to feel worth it. It’s my calling. When you have a calling, you stick with it through the good and the bad.”
The album kicks off with “Gimme Something." “That song was the result of something that happened to me where I was in the bus writing with one of my friends, and he said he had just finished something up last week, and was wondering if maybe we could work on the second verse, and maybe tweak the bridge. I asked him to play it. After I heard it, I told him that not only did I not need to touch the song, I also wanted to record it. It was the first time I’ve taken on this responsibility of being the voice of one of the songs that my friends have spent so much time creating.”
In addition to his music, fans can also see his infamous alter ego, “Earl Dibbles, Jr,” as part of CBS’s Inside College Football. He’s done the weekly comedic feature since 2013, and has a blast doing it. “It’s been great to combine two things that I love -- country music and college football. It all started where we decided to go in and make a parody where Earl picks the games depending on which team is more country. It only took us one week before CBS called and wanted to run with it. It’s been fantastic.”
“Dibbles” is still very much a part of the Smith brand, though he’s been silent on the Bryan tour. “Earl has been such a part of our live show, but we’re not bringing him on the Luke tour, which is interesting for us. It’s the first time consecutively that I’ve had shows with no Earl. We don’t have enough time on the set. It takes a little more time to introduce and digest Earl than a twenty-minute set, but we’re still having him in the headlining shows. I think it’s neat that Earl has become something that you’re not guaranteed to see every single night.”