Granger Smith is a busy man. While dividing his time between opening for Garth Brooks, touring with Luke Bryan, headlining his own tour, recording a brand new podcast—”The Granger Smith Podcast,” developing his own energy drink and clothing line and raising three children, the 38-year-old singer somehow found time to release his newest album, When The Good Guys Win, Friday, Oct. 27.
Produced by Frank Rogers, Derek Wells and Granger, When The Good Guys Win consists of 13-tracks, 8 of which were written or co-written by Granger, including the lead single, “Happens Like That.” The new album follows-up last year’s album, Remington, which features his No. 1 single “Backroad Song” and “If The Boot Fits.
What makes When The Good Guys Win different from previous efforts is that the new project was entirely written, recorded and edited out on the road.
“We were touring like crazy so there wasn’t time to pull out and do anything but tour,” Granger tells One Country. “So I had to adapt making an album and creating an album into tour life. Which is a little bit difficult at first, but then when I got in the groove it seemed easier than it ever had been. It seemed more natural than it ever had been. The creative juices were already flowing and it seems like songwriting, editing and creating just kind of fit right in. Then it felt like, ‘Why haven’t I always done it this way?'”
What Granger is doing, is making his fans a priority. The Texas native took to social media to announce that he will personally call each fan that purchases his new album between pre-order (Oct. 6) through release week (Nov. 3 deadline). Fans can enter for a call from Grange at callfromgranger.com.
What do you want people listening to When the Good Guys Win to take away from it?
“I hope that because of that process of creating it on the road, I hope that you would hear the influence that the people had on this album. What I mean is, you’re writing a song or working on a song, and you’re looking out the window of the bus and you’re seeing people pull up in their trucks, and their girl in hand, and they’re walking and they’re getting in line and they’re lining up right here on the sidewalk. I’m seeing who I need to connect with, with my story. I’ve always thought that my job is to tell my story in a way that they can connect to our people. When you’re looking out the window at my people, it seems like it just all made sense. There’s no middle man, we’re looking right out at our listeners.”
Of the songs you didn’t write, how did you go about finding them for your album?
“First of all, that’s the most songs that I’ve ever not written on one of my albums. I think there’s a very specific reason behind that. We didn’t go listen, we didn’t have any listening meetings. None of them were from labels or anything pitched, it wasn’t any of that. It was all because I was writing so much on the road with these guys, friends, different people coming in and getting on the bus and riding with us for four days. Every time that happened, every time, there was a moment during these writing sessions when someone would say, ‘Hey, I just wrote this song last week and I’m really excited about it, do you mind if we play it?’ And every time that happened, that was a moment where I would go, ‘You know what, I love that, could I be the one that’s the voice of your baby, here?'”
Your new single, “Happens Like That,” has five songwriters on it. Were you all together in one room for that?
“We were, we actually were. That group [Granger, FGL’s Tyler Hubbard, Jordan Schmidt, Justin Wilson and Andy Albert ], a lot of songs on this album were written by the same group—at least the four of us, minus Tyler Hubbard who’s on ‘Happens Like That.’ We had a writing trip, we’ve done this about three times a year. We write a lot of songs, and they always seem to be ones I like—’Happens Like That,’ ‘Stutter,’ ‘Never Too Old,’ ‘Still Holds Up’ to name a few. It’s a good group that feels a lot like songwriting was in the very beginning for me—where it was just some guys and some guitars, laughing, and there’s no pressure. After the show let’s grab a beer, and maybe we’ll listen to the song, or maybe we won’t. It just felt so right with those guys, and that happens like that. The only difference was, Tyler Hubbard was seeing how much fun we were having and he said, ‘Hey man, next time you all get on a song will you please text me?’ That just happened to be that one.”
You would never think Granger Smith and Tyler Hubbard would have the same taste in music.
“I tell you what, me and him really hit it off. He’s a good guy, he’s a smart guy, he’s a funny guy. I’m glad that he’s on the song.”
Do you have a favorite song on the album—One you just want everyone to hear?
“The way I felt from the very beginning of this process, is probably “Everybody Lives.” It’s a song that I thought I needed to say. I needed to send the message, and I wanted people to hear it. To answer your question specifically the way you asked it, that’s the one that I felt like I wanted people to hear.”
You’re alter-ego Earl Dibbles Jr. appears on the album. With your current success, will we be seeing less of him?
“There’s never been a direct formula with that. It’s always been, since the very beginning, when Earl first created he wasn’t a musician, he wasn’t a singer, it wasn’t the song. It was just a video that was going to promo an album, and the video went viral. So viral that people needed a song. After that, there was only going to be one, and it wasn’t going be part of the show. Then that went viral and we needed it to be part of the show. When that happened, there needed to be another one. So that’s always been the way. It’s always been a need basis with Earl. The minute that I feel like we don’t need him, it’s not wanted, then we won’t do it. It’s not a formula.”
You’re kicking off your tour in November, what can we expect from that?
“We’re gonna go directly off the heels of the Luke Bryan tour. And so I would expect that—although we’ve played a lot of shows over the years as a headliner—I would hope that people would expect more from me, now that we’ve had a few hits, and we’ve had a lot of tours to learn from. We’re gonna try to apply the good, and the bad of what we’ve learned.”
What did you take with you from being out on tour with Luke Bryan?
“I could write a book of things I’ve learned from Luke. But what he does so well, he could take a crowd of 20,000 people and make it feel like it’s a tiny bar that he’s speaking to. He has a way to connect on such a personal level, and you have to really study him and watch him enough times to find where that’s coming from, because you can’t just do it. No one could just do it. You have to really know how to manipulate a 20,000 room arena to get them right there in the palm of your hand. And he does that great.”
Do you ever get nervous before a big album release?
“I have in the past, but for some reason I feel at peace with this.”