For artists that have undergone as many reinventions as Dallas Smith, it's easy for their sense of sincerity to get lost in translation as each new chapter is opened.
However, there's a welcome authenticity that pervades the Canadian powerhouse's music, which helps Dallas Smith to strike a balance between maintaining consonance across all his releases, while still ensuring each new project feels fresh and unique.
This is epitomised on Dallas Smith’s first full-length album on Big Loud, which arrived on October 27. The self-titled project blends the singer-songwriter's arena-ready, rock-tinged sound with the contemporary Nashvillian wit and cascading lyricism of songsmiths such as Ashley Gorley, Morgan Wallen, HARDY, Ernest and more.
After spending over a decade as the frontman of hard rock outfit, Default, until 2013, Dallas Smith then spent the following ten years establishing his dominance over the Canadian country charts.
The Langley native has stacked his trophy cabinet with an array of Canadian Country Music Awards, with three prized Entertainer of the Year gongs at the heart of his impressive collection.
Now, having signed to Big Loud, Dallas Smith is venturing deeper into the US country music market than he's ever been before, and his newly released self-titled album serves as the perfect mission statement to start him off on this path.
It's overflowing with infectious, earworm hooks and energising, radio-friendly riffs, with Dallas flitting seamlessly between the self-deprecating foot-stomper, ‘Fixer-Upper’ and the intricate, luscious MacKenzie Porter-assisted ballad, ‘One Too’.
Although the Joey Moi-helmed Dallas Smith draws heavily on an all-star cast of Music City's writers, the record still feels deeply personal, with ‘Good Time Getting There’ in particular finding Dallas looking wistfully back at the journey that brought him this far.
It's clear Dallas was keen to lace as much of his own identity into the new record as possible, “I feel like this is the most complete package of a person that I’ve been, and this is the most proud I’ve been at the stage I’m in in my life, and how I approach everything, and with that, I’m just really proud of the body of work”.
Although maturity is, in many ways, the theme that knits the record together, Dallas Smith leaves plenty of room for fun, uptempo party-starters and wide-eyed vignettes of young love.
Armed with his expansive, country-rock aesthetic, Dallas is seizing this opportunity to connect with new fans, “It’s my first US-focused album, signed to a US label...I just thought it would be a great time to re-introduce myself as an artist, and I think a really good way to make that statement was to self-title the record”.
Speaking to Holler, Dallas Smith delved into his new album, as well as underlining his admiration for HARDY's writing style and sharing some details about his 2024 touring plans:
“I’ve always been a ‘best song wins’ guy, and it’s really important for me to have a well-rounded record. As a kid, I always gravitated towards records that, no matter what mood I was in, no matter what was going on, whether [I've had] a break-up or I'm excited to head out to a party...Whatever it may be, I loved records where I could always go to the same one, and they all achieved the same thing, like there was something off a record I could pull from no matter what.
Creating a record like that is the goal for me, I always imagine the kid looking for a record like that. It’s important for me to have all the different sounds, all the different topics, all the different emotions, different instrumentation [and variety] where I go vocally with them. It was really important for me to have all those boxes ticked, and I think that ultimately we’ll create a better live show [as a result]”.
“The first track - a song called ‘Use Me’...The demo was pretty simple, but there was something about that song that I really thought would translate really well recording it and having my voice on it.
It almost got booted off the record a couple of times, it seemed it was going to be the one that was going to be taken off if another song came by that beat it, but it just never happened. It’s funny how a song like that ends up being one of my favourites, and it’s a lead-off track on the record. That was one I’m really proud of, that I fought for.
And then there’s a song called ‘How Do You Miss Me’, which is a song by HARDY. It’s just a great song - it's got that little bit of an edge that appeals to me. That’s what HARDY’s writing does”.
“My last record was three years ago, and there’s been a lot of maturing (I hope!) going on over the last three years. My family’s older, I’ve been married 11 years, my son’s 18 and he’s moved on to the next chapter of his life, and I’ve got a 10 year old and a 3 year old - so there are a lot of different things going on in my life”.
“I’ve got some US festivals booked already, I'm looking forward to those next year...I really want to open up different markets. I really want to get over to the UK. I want to get over to Australia. I did that in the past - a long, long, long time ago with my old band.
It’s been my goal with this [record] to open up more markets and get more ears and eyes on what I do. Life is all about experiences, it’s not about what you take with you, so I want to be able to go overseas and experience different places and bring my family along with me - and hopefully music can take me there”.