With the release of his eagerly-awaited EP The Fall, Canadian country star Dallas Smith finds himself in a pretty enviable position.
Even before seeing the light of day, the collection had catapulted Smith to unprecedented plateaus in Canadian country music. Its first two singles, Make ‘Em Like You and Rhinestone World, were Smith’s fifth and sixth consecutive #1’s and seventh in total – both records for Canadian country artists in the SoundScan era. Add to that his many major award wins, gold and platinum certifications, and you’ve got one of the most impressive resumes in Canadian music.
More important than the achievements and accolades, though – and largely responsible for them – is the fact that, at this point in his career, Smith feels beholden to nobody but himself.
‘I’m having the time of my life just making music and sharing it with people who want to be a part of it,’ he said. ‘Honestly, I feel like I’m at the place that I’ve strived for my whole career – where you’ve got everything you could want and don’t have to worry about what anybody else thinks.’
That passion permeates much of The Fall, his sixth studio release via 604 Records, in the best way possible. Produced by longtime collaborator, Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen) and Dave Cohen (Florida Georgia Line, Chris Lane), the six-song collection is ripe with memorable melodies and undeniable hooks, from its impactful opener, Drop, to the high-energy and heartfelt Rhinestone World and Make ‘Em Like You, to the mega-fun party anthem Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Alone, featuring guest vocals from close pals Dean Brody and Mackenzie Porter.
Lyrically, The Fall is equally as engaging. From family and fatherhood to friendship and unconditional love, it’s clear that Smith’s words carry a lot of weight with him. ‘We were very selective about which songs we were going to cut this time around’, he reveals. ‘As I get older, I find myself less interested in competing with the kids on the charts than singing about what’s important and meaningful to me and my life right now.’
Of course, authenticity is a valuable currency in country music, and by continually keeping true to himself, Smith has become a beacon for fans seeking substance and sincerity from the artists they follow. Having already capitalised on Canada, he’s now watching his profile grow in important markets like the U.S. and Australia and is eager to keep converting followers from any stage that will have him.
‘That’s my fun’, Smith enthuses. ‘I know what it takes for me to fork over 50 bucks to go see a band I’m into, so if I can inspire somebody to come out to a show and show them a good time, that’s the big win for me. You can be all kinds of things in the studio, but on stage, there’s nothing to hide behind, and I take pride in always living up to that challenge.’
Smith now also finds himself at a point where he can enlighten younger artists with the lessons he’s learned over 20-plus years in the music business. Even before embarking on his solo career with the release of Jumped Right In in 2012, Smith earned his stripes – along with several gold and platinum certifications and a JUNO Award win – with rock outfit Default.
‘We faced all kinds of nightmare scenarios as young artists trying to put out music’, Smith explains about what informed his decision to launch his own label, SteelHead Music. ‘This business can be a real bitch, especially with nobody looking out for you. That’s what made me want to work with and guide talented people and help them avoid those kinds of pitfalls while developing fresh and exciting new sounds.’
After all, he was only in high school when he first heard Alice in Chains’ Dirt and realised his true calling, and ironically, it has taken two decades, countless songs and shows, and an outright stylistic shift to make music as compelling and with as much conviction as his early idols. Looking back, though, it doesn’t sound like he’d change a single thing.
‘I’m just doing what I love to do, and more people keep coming along for the ride’, Smith says proudly. ‘This is the dream, and as long as there are people that want new music and want to keep coming out to the shows to share great times, I’m going to keep doing this, because that’s what it’s all about!’
December 4, 1977