EXCLUSIVE: Conner Smith Chats The Ins and Outs Of His Debut Album 'Smoky Mountains.' "I Didn't Want To Rush Anything"
The 23 year old Music City native showcases a decades worth of stories in his dynamic debut album.
Credit: Luke Hutcherson.
Conner Smith is truly a Nashville soul, since being gifted his first guitar when he was 4, Conner's need to share stories hasn't stopped. Today, the creative tune smith showcases a lifetime of stories in the feverishly creative Smoky Mountains. The twelve track album is full of life as magic moments weave in and out of each track. Dedicated to personal storylines, Connor showcases true heart in his debut album.
"I just love country music," Conner told All Country News. "I have a deep love and respect for the artists and history in this town." With that guiding principle, Conner created a world of stories in his debut album for fans to get lost in. "I've listened to so many albums, listened to so many debut albums as a kid who wanted just to be a songwriter for his whole life." While Conner admits that this debut album took a tad longer than he originally wanted, relying on God moments allowed him to take his time and gift is one of the best debut albums in the past decade.
Kicking off the album is a song that Conner says he hopes sets the tone for the entire project. The song, that Smith shared he conceptualized in an elevator in Ohio, is full of fiddle. Conner's silky tone, the upbeat track, pays homage to the push and pull of following his heart. Full of personality, "Smoky Mountains" honors the relatable feeling of wanting adventure but also wishing of what lies at home.
Penning eleven of the twelve tracks off the project, Conner's goal was to provide a sense of relatability while also offering up depth. That goal comes to fruition in the stylistically provocative, "Roulette On The Heart" featuring ACM winner Hailey Whitters. Honing in on his craft and sticking to the stylings he loves, the born hitmaker strikes gold with the breakout track of the album. Conner gracefully spearheads a classic tale of heartache and loss and does it with such vigor. A song Conner shared was written on a writer's retreat is a career maker. Feverishly clever, the slow and sweet song asks the question of what happens when you bet on love. A masterclass in storytelling, each line guides the storyline along and adds to the depth of the painfully relatable track. Not to mention the harmonies between the two superstars is chef's kiss.
"I didn't know where we would take it that day in the room with Chase McGill and Jesse Alexander and Mark Trussell," Conner shared of the tender love track. "Every line has its own little twist and own little hook inside of it that points towards the hook. It's such a relatable emotion. And so that song felt a step above right when we heard it. You'd be surprised how many versions we had to go through to finally find the right one for this song, because I really was going to fight for this one."
Sitting proudly at spot number six, Meanwhile In Carolina, earnestly serves as the heart of the project. The softhearted ballad driven by a simple strum of the guitar guides fans through a zestful journey of Conner's own love story. From lyric to lyric, Meanwhile In Carolina offers a fly on the wall perspective of fate coming together and brining two hearts together in the end, even if they did not know it just yet. Pulling moments from his own life, In a genre that craves relatable stories, the song is authentic and raw yet so universal.
There was something in me that just was kind of born to do this, Conner shared. " I'be always wanted to tell stories and be a songwriter. Thinking back to that kid at four, that kid at six writing his first song or the kid at nine who signed a BMI or the kid at 16 who got a publishing deal or to the kid at 18 who signed a record deal. Honestly, it has all been God moments. It's not going to be the plan or the path or the timeline you're expecting, but it's going to be the one you need. And beyond everything, you're going to be proud of how you do it, I think is hopefully what people get out of the project.
Determined to bring his story forward style of country to life, each track shows off what a thoughtful tune smith = Conner is. Perhaps the magic in this project is that Smith is unafraid of sharing what the genre is to him. From barn burners like Heatin Up to sweet hometown love stories in Boots In The Bleachers, each song has depth and purpose. Highlighted through powerful lyricism and brilliant melodies, Conner's debut album is one that you do not just simply walk away from. Allowing fans to get lost in your artistry is something this genre so desperately needs, and damn does Conner Smith deliver.