Interview – Dallas Smith

Sometimes life takes us down a detoured road, and while unexpected, the change can be good. Dallas Smith, of Hard Rock band Default, saw the writing on the wall for a new calling in Country Rock, diving into the unknown of a new adventure in his musical career. After attaining a platinum selling record with Default’s 2001 debut album, The Fallout, the band became a fixture in Hard Rock with three chart topping albums to follow. Known for his dynamic and powerful voice, Smith relished in the challenge of taking on Country Rock, and in 2012 released his debut solo album Jumped Right In  which reached nineteen on Canada charts. With his popularity growing quickly in his homeland ever since. Now looking to bring his brand of Country Rock to the United States, Smith was greeted warmly with 2014’s Tippin’ Point and Lifted EPs. Recently we caught up with the motivated vocalist to look back on his decision to go into Country Rock, his time with Default, plans for the future, and more.

CrypticRock.com – Many know you from your work in Hard Rock band Default, which you celebrated a good amount of mainstream success. In recent years, you began a solo career in Country Rock. What inspired you to dive in the Country Rock genre?

Dallas Smith – It kind of happened slowly through my career with Default. Around the mid 2000’s my tastes started changing and I started hearing these songs that were catching my ear; the music artists like Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and Jason Aldean was putting out.  It was just the kind of music I started to listen to. I would warm up for the Rock shows on the bus listening to Country records. As more guitars started to being heard on Country radio it was kind of the perfect storm of what I grew up with. I love Country music, but I also love a lot of the Classic Rock I grew up with. It started to have the best of both worlds and what I was hearing was records I wanted to make myself.

CrypticRock.com – Yes, and the modern Country Rock scene allows that to be where a Classic Rock and Country influence meet. Your voice does show extreme diversity with the ability to sing in a variety of styles. Do you approach your singing any differently with your solo material opposed to your material with Default?

Dallas Smith – Yes, I think I have grown as a singer. The work I did with the Rock stuff was a little linear, as far as the emotion which was coming through. With the Country, I had to focus on making my voice more of a story-telling voice. I had to do this to bring across the different emotions in the song instead of just being about crappy relationships or stuff of that nature. I had to learn how to sing different and act with my voice to get these different emotions through.

TVT Records
TVT Records

CrypticRock.com – Right, that makes sense with the different inflections in Country opposed to Rock. Your debut solo album, Jumped Right In, was released in 2012, and in 2014 you released the follow-up full-length Lifted in Canada and EP edition in the USA. Did you feel a new level of comfort going into this new material having already completed one solo record?

Dallas Smith – The big test for me was when we released Tippin’ Point in Canada after five singles off Jumped Right In. Tippin’ Point was quite different, modern, and progressive compared to work I had put out previously. That song broke sales records up here, it was a huge song for me. Once it did that, I knew that the music that was going to end up being on Lifted was going to be well-accepted. I had confidence in songs at that point. Tippin’ Point was definitely the testing ground for how progressive I could go.

JumpedRightIn
604 Records
TippinPointEP
604 Records

CrypticRock.com – Yes, as an artist one can imagine you are always looking to push that artistic envelope as far as you can and see how far it takes you.

Dallas Smith – Yes, exactly. You have to take risks in what you do. You cannot always come up with what people expect you to come up with. It will just get stale and you will get bored. You always want to push yourself, move in a different direction, and follow where that will take you.

CrypticRock.com – Exactly, and Lifted certainly has a variety of different textures, from piano to hard driven guitars, as well as your unmistakable voice over it all. How do you find the USA audience receiving the material?

Dallas Smith – So far so good. It is nice to see the fan-base grow, there are a lot more festivals in 2015. For me, it is about awareness; I have to find the right opportunities and take those avenues to get in front of as many people as I can. Obviously, with Canada, I had a little more of a leg up here with our Can-con rules. Out of the gate, my stuff was just played a lot more. People are more familiar with me in Canada because of that. In the US, it is just getting started. I just have to work hard to get on radio in the US, and hopefully it will have the same results I have had in Canada.

CrypticRock.com – There is a strong possibility that will happen. Country Rock has certainly been very popular in North America over the last decade, and seems to be rising. Your brand of Country Rock certainly pays homage to the genre’s older style but with a harder edge. Was that a sound you were going for or did it just morph naturally?

Dallas Smith – It came pretty naturally. As I said, those records which I was really enjoying, I wanted to have the elements of those in my music. Coming from a Rock band, it was just there, it is what I do. It was not a stretch to put it in there, it was not something I had to be mindful of, it was just there. It is really all I know how to do (laughs). I do not think all the music I put out will not have a bit of an edge to it. All the music I have out has always had that.

dallas-smith-lifted
Republic Nashville

CrypticRock.com – That makes sense going back to your history in being part of Default. It has been six years since Defaults Comes and Goes. Obviously you are concentrating on your solo career now, but is there a possibility of new Default material in the future?

Dallas Smith – I never say never, but it is definitely not on the horizon anytime soon. I had lunch with the guys a couple of weeks ago, we are all still friends. Everyone is busy, off doing their own thing, and families are growing. Never say never, but if it was to happen, it would be a long time for now.

CrypticRock.com – That is understandable. It is also great to hear yourself and Default have not closed that door. Obviously you attained that experience with Default with success releasing records, touring, etc. Do you feel that laid the groundwork for you moving forward into your solo career?

Dallas Smith- Yes, it was extremely valuable. I came into Country Rock completely as a brand new artist. From touring, how to execute these songs, the amount of time I have been on stage, and the business aspects of it, all the mistakes you make, I had already been through that process (laughs). Therefore, I was able to streamline and really be efficient with the decisions I was making . Hopefully the live shows, as a new artists, were quite seasoned and professional as I could make them. I had that leg up one-hundred percent.

TVT Records
TVT Records
EMI Canada
EMI Canada

CrypticRock.com – That has to be a big help, especially since you were completely new to the Country Rock genre.

Dallas Smith – Yes, the business part of it is a huge. A lot of artists come in now which are really green to that. They may have played bars and other venues here and there hundreds of times, and had a lot of shows under their belt. Although, the business aspect is a huge part of this. With numbers and contracts, everyone has to be motivated to move forward and keep working. Some artists sign contracts which handcuff them. Being in the business, I realized I could put myself in that position, but did not, so that helped.

CrypticRock.com – Very true, and also very smart. My last question for you is pertaining to movies.  CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films.  If you are a fan of Horror films, what are some of your favorite Horror films?

Dallas Smith – (laughs) To be quite honest, I liked them as a kid. It is a kind of roller coaster; you get older and you cannot just stomach it anymore, it is kind of like that with Horror movies for me. I liked Paranormal Activity (2007), but the anticipation of suspense, I just cannot handle anymore.

CrypticRock.com – Right, well a lot of the gore in the modern Horror genre is extremely realistic, besides when they use CGI. With that said, the effects are extremely real-looking and sometimes even a seasoned Horror lover needs to look away.

Dallas Smith – Exactly. The film that freaked me out as a kid was The Howling (1981). I could handle a lot of stuff as a kid, but I could not handle werewolves. That, and Cujo (1983) freaked me out as well.

Avco Embassy Pictures
Avco Embassy Pictures
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Tour Dates:
Apr 10 Chumash Casino Resort Santa Ynez, CA w/ LoCash
May 16 Love City Country Fest Cruz Bay, Us Virgin Islands
May 29 Moonshine Flats San Diego, CA
May 30 Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Monterey, CA
Jun 25 Country Stampede Manhattan, KS
Jun 27 FarmBorough – Next from Nashville Stage New York, NY
Jun 28 Country Fest Cadott, WI
Jul 01 Wild West Festival Hays, KS
Jul 04 Jam in the Valley Varysburg, NY
Jul 08 Country Concert – Saloon Stage Fort Loramie, OH
Jul 10 Craven Country Jamboree Craven, Canada
Jul 11 Wild West Festival Fort Mcmurray, Canada
Jul 12 Cavendish Beach Music Festival Cavendish, Canada
Jul 15 Gone Country Music Festival London, Canada
Jul 16 Ottawa Bluesfest Ottawa, Canada
Jul 18 Pierz Freedom Fest Pierz, MN
Jul 23 Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede Medicine Hat, Canada
Jul 24 Mattawa Voyageur Days Mattawa, Canada
Jul 30 Big Valley Jamboree Camrose, Canada
Aug 01 Rockin River Music Festival Merrit, Canada
Aug 04 Dawson Creek Exhibition and Fall Fair Dawson Creek, Canada
Aug 09 Boots and Hearts Wasaga Beach, Canada
Aug 14 Franklin County Fair Malone, NY
Aug 15 Miami County Fair Troy, OH
Aug 21 Eastbound Hoedown Avondale, Canada
Aug 23 Texas Thunder Gardendale, TX
Aug 28 Lucknow’s Music In The Fields Lucknow, Canada
Nov 07 This Is How We Cruise Miami, FL
Keep up with Dallas Smith: dallassmithmusic.com | Facebook | Twitter 
Purchase Lifted:

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