As a teenage boy, he would watch George Strait from the second row. He would dream of one day being on the stage, Granger Smith had no idea that his dreams would lead him to be sleeping on the interstate.
Of course, he does have seven top ten singles, has been to Iraq and Kuwait three times to play for the soldiers and has performed three shows at the White House, twice for the President. His career even reached new heights when his song for his alma mater “We Bleed Maroon” was played on the Space Shuttle Discovery at the request of Astronaut Michael Fossum, a fellow Aggie, and the STS-124 Crew in 2008.
“There is a song off our last album called ‘Sleeping on the Interstate’ it was describing what we were doing. It starts by saying, At 4 am, a five piece band Gets hurry in a Chevrolet van Running late…So we’re sleeping on the interstate. It’s kinda still where we are. We are traveling such far distances, in a van and a trailer, that a lot of times we don’t have time to get to hotels because we have to make it to the next sound check. And it might be a state away. So we have outfitted our van with bunks and curtains and we take shifts to sleep on the way to the next show. It’s not glamorous at all, “explains Smith. “It’s rough sometimes but it is the life I live and the life I’ve chosen. I’m almost a slave to that life but I absolutely love it.”
Smith went full-circle. He taught himself to play guitar at 14 in Texas, then went on to signing a publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing in Nashville, for five years. In 2004, he went on to signing a publishing contract with Phil Vassar and returned home to Texas. While enrolled at Texas A & M University, he earned a bachelor’s degree, while touring and releasing three albums. He now has his own studio and everything with an in-house band. He even packages his own merchandise to send to fans.
“That experience at 19 years old was critical in developing who I am today as an artist,” says Granger. “I tried to soak in the craft of songwriting like a sponge from the older guys I was paired with. I credit so much of my learning to those mentors,” says Smith. “We are now a completely in house company. It is the ultimate interpretation of grass roots. We will continue to build this and outsource as needed.”
Currently, Smith is promoting their February release called ‘Live At The Chicken’. He is also working on their next album. The single will be released in the Fall and the album is set for Spring. All the songs are original and most are a reflection of his life.
Smith says “Every album that I put out has at least one song that goes line by line word for word exactly what is going on in my career and life right then. This album we are putting out will be number 9, so I can look back through my life through the last decade and those are kind of my diary entries. I can listen to a full album and remember what I was doing in 2003, 2005, etc. Remember my relationship status, what was going on in my career, where I was living, just from the different songs I was writing, so I like that a lot. It’s a huge outlet for me, even if the albums weren’t going to people, even if they were just for me, that would be satisfying enough for me to continue to make music.”
With a nine-month-old daughter and a supportive wife, his ‘diary’ entries will be sure to please his fans, more and more.
Some of the songs and videos are not a reflection of his life. Smith knows the value of entertainment and likes to make his fans laugh. Last summer he created a character named Earl Dibbles Jr. – The Country Boy. The video showed Smith as Earl, dressed in overalls, a white tank top and a trucker cap. Earl proceeds to tell the camera about his daily schedule and shows an extremely funny skit of him doing his daily ‘work’. The video went viral and fans started requesting for Smith to do the monologue and don his alter-ego’s attire.
“We knew we needed to act on that and actually write a song for him to sing. I wrote a song called The Country Boy Song and then we came out with the music video for that. It is really taking off for us. I am going back at the end of my show and changing into Earl’s outfit, overalls, a white tank top and a trucker cap and I go out there and sing the song. People have just been going nuts.”
With those kinds of shows and his growing success, it looks like he will have many more years of ‘Sleeping on the Interstate.’
For more info on Smith or to buy an album, go to www.grangersmith.com or your favorite on-line source for music.
Story by: Krys Midgett