By Keith Sharp
You could call it an item ticked off Dallas Smith’s bucket list when the Langley B.C native launches his new record, `Side Effects’ Saturday when he hits Vancouver’s Rogers Place stage to open for his primary musical influence, Keith Urban.
Smith, who will be opening for Urban on the six-date Western Canadian leg of Urban’s global ‘Rip-Chord’ tour has been emphatic about the positive influence Urban’s music has had on his own career since switching from lead singer of hard rock band Default to a burgeoning career as a Country Music artist with two significant releases (the 2012 `Jumped Right In’ and 2013 follow up, ‘Lifted), the latter gleaning a Juno Award for Top Country Album in 2015 and Canadian Country Music Award plaudits in the same category.
“Even when I was at the back of the bus, warming up for a Default gig in the early 2000’s, I’d be singing along to Keith Urban and Rascall Flat’s songs,” Smith revealed on the phone from Vancouver when he is set to stage a record launch party at the venearable Commodore Ballroom prior to Saturday’s Urban tour kick-off.
“Keith is who inspired me to switch to recording Country Music, he is a great guitar play, has a fantastic voice and is the consumate entertainer” enthused Smith. “I’m just looking forward to doing my thing and then sitting back to watch his show.”
Smith came to Urban’s attention when they both played at the same festivals in Ottawa and London Ontario last year. “I guess some of his band members watched me play and I was brought to his attention. I got the invite a couple of weeks later and of course that is something you don’t turn down”
Agreeing that performing with Urban looks impressive on his CV, Smith is determined to maintain the momentum he has built on his two previous album releases and is encouraged that `Side Effects’ has been warmly received with two tracks “One Little Kiss” and “Autograph” alread attracting strong airplay.
“To be honest, I just think I have more of a fan base, there’s just a bigger wave of positivety about this record that has been unwavering,” Smith noted. “We’ll have to see in about 18 months how it stacks up against ‘Jumped Right In’ and ‘Lifted’ but so far, so good.”
Smith decided to make the jump from hard rocker to country artist because he had become disillusioned with the plight of rock radio and found himself falling back in love with the Country Music genre.
“It’s a result of growing up in a house where it was always about listening to great songs whether it was the Beatles or The Judds so I’ve always had an appreciation for a good song,” he allowed. “Originally, I had no intention to record a country record but I liked the way country music spoke to me so I took two or three years off and just focused on creating something that I felt good about.”
Encouraged by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger who worked on Default’s initial indie release with Joey Moi ( Smith’s producer on all of his solo releases), Kroeger has continued to support Smith’s new direction, signing him to his own 604 record label.
Smith’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With Canadian Country Music,, riding the crest of a popularity wave that has seen the genre branded as “The New Pop Music” “I can’t think of another genre of music that incorporates such a wide variety of sounds. The dynamics are amazing, there are so many different influences, it’s fantastic. You can turn on a Country radio station and hear Mumford And Sons and tune into a rock radio station and catch Keith Urban, it’s all good”.
As for his own writing style, Smith that he records tracks and writes songs “that just fit my life right now. I want people to listen to my records and feel that I have generated a positive experience rather than drowning in negativity – I did enough of that with my old band.”
Smith is set to open for Urban Sept 10 at the Vancouver RogersPlace, Sept 11th in Prospera Place Kelowna BC, 13th in Prince George B.C CN Centre, Sept 15th at the Calgary Saddledome, Sept 16th at the new Edmonton Rogers Place and Sept 17th at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon before heading east for a couple of dates, highlighted by a Sept 24th date at Casino Rama near Orillia.
For more information on Dallas Smith please link to dallassmithmusic.com.