My name is Corey Smith and I'm a country singer/songwriter from Jefferson, GA. I just released a song called "Ain't Going Out Tonight" which is the first single from my 9th album that I'm working on with producer Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band, Martina McBride.) I've written every word to every song on all of my previous 8 albums and I've financed and produced every album myself. I'm also about to begin my "Movin' On Up" Tour presented by Live Nation's Ones to Watch & Texas Pete in November. Some of my notable songs include "Twenty-One," "Maybe Next Year," "If I Could Do It Again" and "F*** the Popo."


I live in the same small town that I grew up in, I'm married with two children, I play around 130 shows a year, I love my family, bass fishing, reading philosophy and good poetry and I write and perform country music for thousands of people every year. I have a big, black, jacked-up truck, but haven't felt compelled to write a song about it. Ask me anything!

Thanks for chatting with me. This has been great. Sorry I couldn't answer all your questions and for being long-winded in some of my responses. Answers to many of the questions I couldn't address directly can be found if you read through my other comments. Thank you all very much for your interest and support. You have blessed me tremendously. Let's do this again soon.

Comments: 207 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

tlott11 karma

1) First off, my husband hates going to concerts with me. You were doing an acoustic show at Bluewater Bar in Valdosta last year(?) and I forced him to go with me. Now, the only concerts he will go with me to are yours, so thanks for that!

2) You have a song called "If That's Country" that talks about CMT that came out before you had some of your videos featured on CMT. Do they know about that song or...? Personally I love it. Thanks for staying true to who you've always been from the beginning!

coreysmithmusic14 karma

I'm sure someone over there has heard it. I think its is a testament to them that they still want to support me. The reality is this: I wrote that song 10 years ago after sitting on my grandma's couch one Sunday and watching Kenny Chesney's Be As You Are program on CMT. I might have been in a bad mood, but the whole thing struck me as disingenuous. Keep in mind, I was and continue to be a Kenny Chesney fan, (I used to cover a bunch of his songs when I was starting out in the bars) that one day, I was disgusted with him and the TV channel. At the time, I was a high school teacher who played for crowds of about 50 people in and around my hometown. I had no idea that song would ever be heard by so many people. I've also learned a lot about Kenny and anyone I've talked to that knows him has said he is a great dude, so I feel bad about ripping on him in the song. However, i was doing my job as an artist at the time. I was just writing my feelings as a disgruntled fan and obviously other people felt the same way.
As far as CMT, it was a completely different channel back in those days. Now CMT is known for widening the format and giving outside-the-box artists like myself a chance to be heard. I am extremely grateful for them. That's why I don't play the second verse of that song live anymore.

treefiddyfo9 karma

Thanks for doing this Corey! This past March I lost my best friend, the person to introduce me to your music. I have many memories jamming to your tunes and throwin a few back with my buddy and your music. I'm proud to say your music has always been what I turn on whether it's a rough day or a great one. You've always been there and it has been one of the key things getting through my best friend's passing. I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your music. Didn't really come to ask a question but just to tell you that. If I had a question though, I'd wanna know what is the biggest influence on your music today and what keeps you playing music? Thanks man, take it easy.

coreysmithmusic10 karma

I think writing songs and being creative is just part of who I am, maybe woven into my DNA. I do because it makes my happy. One of the greatest blessings in my life is that I can share something that makes me happy with others and impact their lives in a positive way. When I hear stories like yours it is sort of a reminder that I"m doing the right thing so I truly appreciate your sharing.

coreysmithmusic9 karma

Thanks for chatting with me. This has been great. Sorry I couldn't answer all your questions and for being long-winded in some of my responses. Answers to many of the questions I couldn't address directly can be found if you read through my other comments. Thank you all very much for your interest and support. You have blessed me tremendously. Let's do this again soon.

haverswag9 karma

1) What's been your most notable halloween costume?

2) Besides country, what kind of music are you into?

Jaythreef29 karma

I hear he loves it all, from hip-hop to rock & roll.

coreysmithmusic14 karma


coreysmithmusic16 karma

I love all types of music. I'm a huge Randy Newman fan. I still enjoy John Mayer. Love his newest album Paradise Valley. I like Skynyrd, the Allman's, Counting Crowes. I enjoy classical music when I'm in a certain mood too. Aaron Copeland is amazing. Gershwin is great. I have an Ella Fitzegerald album where she sings the Gershwin catalogue. Its awesome.

countrymusicfan907 karma

I know you usually write you own songs, but with what other artists would you most like to collaborate?

coreysmithmusic8 karma

Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, John Mayer to name a few

FeelsLike956 karma

What's your opinion on the brand of country that's coming out of Nashville right now? And do you think country will ever get back to its roots, or do you think it has been forever tarnished?

coreysmithmusic2 karma

See above

crob7116 karma

Hey Corey! I saw you at the House of Blues in Orlando a few years ago. I've seen you several times but that time was the most memorable because you rapped Hell razor by Tupac. What other songs have you sang that most people wouldn't expect at your concerts?

coreysmithmusic10 karma

I have to say Hell Razor is the most shocking cover I've ever performed. I started doing it back in the little bar days and people loved it. That shit is raw though. Too raw for most of the venues I play now.

AndrewinDC5 karma

Hey Corey, I'm a very big fan and have been for years. I've seen you live a ton of times all over the country, most recently here in DC at the 9:30 club. You always put on a great show and I just wanted to say thank you for that.

My question is this: A lot of your songs deal with your family and home life, which I think is a staple of country music as a whole. What other influences do you think are most prevalent in your song writing process outside of the family and home? And if I can ask one more, who are some of your favorite artists that we may not have heard of yet but should know about? Thanks for making awesome music!

coreysmithmusic6 karma

THank you sir. I always try to give it my very best on stage. Much appreciate.
I'm not sure how to answer. I think of my role as an artists this way: I live in the world, perceive things and internalize those perceptions just like everyone else. However, I take the additional step of taking what I've internalized and making it into something people can hopefully enjoy. So all of my songs and poetry and essays and pictures I draw, etc come from my life. I think what I end up writing about reflects what i value most deeply as well as the issues I struggle with most.
American Aquarium, The Railers, Connor Christian and Southern Gothic, Adam Ezra Group, Ryan Kinder are just a few

rwolfe75 karma

When you are creating new music, how do you distinguish between you growing as an artist and you "selling out" or conforming to what will make you the most money? Along the same lines, why have you strayed away from the rap (for lack of musical terminology knowledge) sections in your songs such as in "F the popo" and "i'm drinking again".

coreysmithmusic8 karma

I consider "selling out" as not making the music I feel compelled to make for the sake of popularity. I am blessed to have fans and am more grateful to them than words can express. However, if I being making music for my fans instead of for me, then I'm "selling out" to them. I think fans have responded to my music because I have always written from the heart and made the music I wanted to make. That doesn't mean fans will always like what I do and that's ok with me. I don't like all of Dylan's records for example. I would rather have their respect than have them like every single album because I simply give them what they want. I haven't intentionally left out rapping and in fact I rap in a song that will be on my new record. I will say, there have been times when some fans have accused me for selling out however and it has hurt. I have financed all of my albums with money fans have given me through ticket and album sales. I have not sold out. Period. Keeping Up With the Joneses was probably my biggest disappointment. Fans have not responded well to it. I played a lot of electric guitar on the album and layered a lot of vocals, experimenting with new sounds. I had hope it would be received well but it wasn't. I'm a big boy though and chalked it up as a learning experience.

royyal045 karma

What would you say to people who have the attitude "I listen to pretty much anything... except country"?

coreysmithmusic13 karma

I think they need to listen to the right kind of country

Thunder215 karma

What was your inspiration for "Let me love you on a back road?" Did it just come to you one day, or did you start writing the song in your mind during some mind-blowing roadhead?

coreysmithmusic12 karma

Lol. It was wishful thinking.

rwolfe75 karma

What was the reason behind the sudden change in band members?

coreysmithmusic8 karma

I wouldn't say it was sudden at all. Very tough decision that I wrestled with for a long time. Rob and Marcus were like family to me and both are tremendous players. Our chemistry was just way off after so many years grinding it on the road. No bad blood between us though. It was definitely the right move. the past year, since Tweezy and Kris have joined the band, I've been a much happier person on and off stage and made the best music of my career.

Rance_Geodes5 karma

Why is it that country singers and country fans love the booze but hate the weed?

coreysmithmusic17 karma

I know a lot of country singers that smoke their weight in weed. It's just uncouth to write about or discuss it. Radio won't play many weed songs. Alcohol is a more socially acceptable drug simply because its legal.

rwolfe75 karma

Specifically which of your songs are about your life? Does your wife ever get jealous when you write songs about romantic experiences that never happened between the two of you?

coreysmithmusic14 karma

All of my songs are from my life, but some are more literal than others.I don't think she gets jealous about those songs. She understands. She hated it when I wrote F the Po Po though. Said it was too vulgar and that I shouldn't play it. She didn't care for If I Could Do It AGain at first either.

Hawtzi5 karma

Is "If I Could Do it Again" an accurate story of something you did?

coreysmithmusic13 karma

Most of the song is about me but some is about my buddies and a tiny bit is exaggerated. You can be assured that an mention of hooking up with girls isn't about me. I was to busy getting sloppy drunk to focus on girls. Sadly, now that I'm a dad, I wouldn't do it the same,. I cringe at the thought of my kids acting as downright stupid as I did.

LucidLamar5 karma

Hey Corey! Long time fan here. Thanks for doing this AMA and thank you so much for so many timeless Jams you've created throughout your career. My question is this... A few weeks back you tweeted that the "Sundy Best" boys brought you a quart of some primo Kentucky moonshine, Did this jar make it past the backstage/bus before the contents of that mason jar were indulged in, or did it make it back home to GA with you to be put away for a special occasion? Keep on Keepin' on and hope to see you at the HOB Myrtle Beach next 4th of July.

coreysmithmusic5 karma

I think I managed to get half the jar home. Some of the guys got a hold of it though. I try not to drink too much on the road anymore. It takes a toll after a while. Usually just have a beer or two after the show unless its a special ocassion.

MathildeC14 karma

Where do you find the inspiration to write ?

coreysmithmusic7 karma

Life Experience + Imagination + Time to think

jackANDpepto4 karma

Hey Corey, thanks for doing this AMA.

What is your craziest tour story?

coreysmithmusic14 karma

A crazy cougar lady in Fayetteville Arkansas leaned over and bit me on the chest when I was taking a picture with her. Almost drew blood. Pissed me off. I had her kicked out.

chadehooper2 karma

How old is a cougar at your age?

coreysmithmusic3 karma

Lol. Not sure. Cougar is age accompanied by a certain attitude. there is a broad age range though

HansoMon4 karma

Do you listen to Kenny Rogers?

coreysmithmusic17 karma

Not anymore. We did a show with him in Alabama this summer and he treated us like crap. It's along story, but I'm no longer a fan. He was my hero when I was a kid though.

gorevidalsassoon3 karma

hey corey, what up!

As someone well versed in the classics, and coming from a unique vantage point of a successful musician outside of the mainstream commercial complex, I was wondering how you feel about the trajectory of modern popular country music?

coreysmithmusic5 karma

I'm not a fan of where the format has drifted (see above) but have hope. Make no mistake, I am a country artist and feel I have a duty to my community to give an honest artistic representation of my world. Fans have given my the opportunity to affect change in the country format and I feel a sense of responsibility to continue pushing the needle. When I walk through the country music hall of fame I leave feeling as if I'm on the edge of a long tradition that carries great, powerful meaning. I want to be on the radio one day so I can be a bigger part of that tradition and make a bigger difference. However, I'm not willing to make disingenuous music for the sake of getting there. But I believe deep down, if I keep doing what I'm doing, the door will eventually open. So I have to continue having hope that new voices such as mine can be added to the format so that it more accurately reflects the diversity that is present even in small towns such as Jefferson, GA. But I will go on record as saying that I find a lot of the negative stereotypes perpetuated by country stars offensive. Country people are much more intelligent than they give us credit for.

tm07873 karma

1) Is it true you were a teacher and decided to quit teaching to pursue music?

2) What helped make that decision?

3) Did you ever play any of your songs in class for your kids?

4) Will you play at my wedding?

coreysmithmusic7 karma

  1. Yes 2. I prayed a lot and did a lot of math. In the end, the fans who continued to show up and support made my decision for me. I have been very blessed. I made the decision the day after my first show at the GA Theatre in Dec 2005 I think. It sold out and I made more than I did in two months of teaching. It may not sound good that I'm mentioning money but i'm just being honest. It was God's way of saying "Don't be afraid Corey. Follow your dreams. I've got you covered." 3. Every Friday. I field tested a lot of the songs on UNdertones with my class. 4. Sorry, but no.

doggydefender3 karma

Hey Corey, thanks for coming!

While I realize that you're not a typical country singer, I was wondering how you feel about the pressure to play to certain typical country music tropes, use the vernacular, and how (and if) that's difficult to reconcile with your middle class/ worldly background? Or do you avoid this as an indie?

coreysmithmusic20 karma

I live in the same rural town in northeast GA that I grew up in. No one could come and visit my and my family and friends in Jefferson and say that I don't come from the country. Therefore, I believe my music, which is a reflection of my life, is a reflection of "country". I try not think too much about what "country" is supposed to be, I just write what I know.
Let me put it another way - true art is like a mirror society can hold up to itself to see it's values, norms, issues, etc. Sadly, popular country often distorts that mirror for the sake of massive commercial success. It has become like a funhouse mirror. It makes it look as if all people in the country care about is riding around in trucks with girls sipping moonshine. It perpetuates negative stereotypes about people in the country, people like myself and my friends and family and I find it reprehensible. There is a lot more diversity in small towns than the format gives us credit for.

DrunkIrsay3 karma

Corey! I just have to ask, who is your favorite Dawg of all-time?

coreysmithmusic13 karma

Larry Munson

tulameen3 karma

For you, what takes a mediocre show and turns it into a truly memorable show?

Can't wait to see you at stagecoach next year, how does Frontgate treat the artists for this event? They're generally fairly craptacular to the paying customer and have made some hilariously bad rules.

(ie. last year no one who didn't own an RV could camp. So country music, which caters to the 'working man' couldn't even go, because more or less no one but middle aged men actually own an rv)

If by any chance you could accrue any meet and greet passes for Stagecoach there's a group of us who would love to meet you.

coreysmithmusic3 karma

Going out on a limb and trying something new, getting out of the comfort zone

KushTheKitten3 karma

What'd you think of the ending to Breaking Bad?

coreysmithmusic4 karma

Sadly, I've never watched it. I don't have time for getting into TV shows like I used to. If I get a chance to watch TV, it's usually Disney Channel or football with my kids. Several of the guys in the band rave about Breaking Bad though.

l33tSpeak2 karma

First Mikes Down Under, then Chili there a good place left to eat around Jefferson?

Ever been fishing at twin lakes in Winder? Would love to have a few cold ones and fish a tournament with you.

tylerporter111 karma

Mama 5 Sons in the square downtown.

coreysmithmusic3 karma

Savory Spoon.

DieselSauce0 karma

Why is country music so bad now?

coreysmithmusic4 karma

It's not all bad but money has a tendency to corrupt authenticity. Art is not a means to and ends. It's an ends in itself. Too often, music becomes simply a means to make money and popularity and ceases to be artistic.