Independent Lens: Dallas Smith Discusses "Lifted"

"One of the things I wanted to achieve with this record was a more dynamic sound...than the first, more linear record."

Perhaps the biggest artist to arrive on the Canadian country music scene since at least Johnny Reid, Dallas Smith has been able to build his career south of the border in the United States as well with the hit "Tippin' Point" and now he's just released his sophomore EP project, Lifted to stores with the first single from the project being "Wastin' Gas." Below we talk with Dallas about the project, his upcoming tour and more.

Roughstock: What can you tell us about the new project?

Dallas Smith: It’s my second record as a solo artist and one of the things I wanted to achieve with this record was a more dynamic sound for the overall record and to use some different instruments and how we’re using them. I wanted more dynamics in my voice and in the songs we selected for the record and I think we’ve achieved that. I think the stuff from my first record (the Canadian release Jumped Right In) was a little bit more linear and with these new songs, I think we can have a more dynamic live show.

Roughstock: How has the reaction been to “Wastin' Gas” so far?

Dallas: It’s good! A lot of my artist friends have messaged me saying they love the song and think its a smash. So to get that kind of support from everyone around me feels good and is awesome. Hopefully it’ll translate to everyone at radio and if fans react to it. You just never know.

Roughstock: Yeah, you just put it out there and see what happens…

Dallas: Yep.

Roughstock: How did you go about picking the tracks for Lifted?

Dallas: I’m lucky that when I first started to coming down to Nashville to start my solo project, Craig Wiseman opened up the doors to all of the folks there at Big Loud Shirt and his company. He believed in my voice and what I could do and I’m very lucky to have a guy like that leading me and helping me find the right songs and writers to work with. I’ve got a label there I can trust and they filter songs to me and I give them an idea of what I’m looking for and they’re instrumental in helping me create the records.

Roughstock: I guess it doesn’t help having a guy like Craig and all of the writers like Rodney Clawson and Chris Tompkins and guys like that to pull material from…

Dallas: And it’s not just those writers but other, younger writers there like Sara Buxton, who has a track on my record, and Matt Dragstrem, who co-wrote “Wastin’ Gas.”

Roughstock: Speaking of that single, SiriusXM’s been very good to you. How does it feel to have the support of them?

Dallas: [Country Music Program Director] John Marks  over there has been a huge supporter. We didn’t really push anything from my first Canadian project there but on the second one, which became the Tippin’ Point EP, we had John come into the studio and obviously he knew the label and management for all of their success with Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” so he was an early supporter.

SiriusXM’s “The Highway” bleeds over to Canada quite a bit so to have the extra station that other Canadian artists weren’t getting any airplay on was just massive for me. It ended up making “Tippin’ Point” the highest-selling Canadian country music single on iTunes ever. It was pretty crazy. So having John and the Highway on that was massive and helped me get some festival gigs and other opportunities in the USA too. And the fact that they’re already playing “Wasting Gas” is great too.

Roughstock: You can see the role they’re playing with many artists…

Dallas: Yeah, they’re a big supporter of new talent and give it a shot when maybe terrestrial radio isn’t quite as ready to. They can take risks that maybe other stations cannot take thanks to their model.

Roughstock: You recently announced a headlining tour in Canada…

Dallas: Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to do a tour like that, I was in a band (Default) that toured the world and headlined like that but this is my first solo tour across Canada. January and February in Canada may not be a whole lot of fun because there’s not a lot to do except go to shows and watch hockey. It’s a good tim to tour Canada…

Roughstock: Yeah, just don’t have the shows the same day the local city’s playing in town…

Dallas: Yeah, then nobody will show up…(laughs)

Roughstock: Well, since you’ve been able to headline tours with Default before, you kind of know what to expect…

Dallas: Yeah, I’ve been through many, many tours and do know what to expect from the day to day life of being on tour. Even from the production and stuff, we’ve made every mistake possible back in the day so I do have a leg-up a bit. I think that’s the best thing about this tour is that it’s like wishing you could go back to high school and do everything better than you did before and as an artist, I now kind of get that chance, so to speak, to do everything better with this tour.


To buy Dallas Smith's new EP Lifted you can click here. For tour dates and more info please visit Dallas Smith's website.