Smith to play at the fair

Full House by Phil Houseal

I interrupt my regularly scheduled column for this breaking news ...

For the past six weeks I’ve been working on wrangling an interview with Granger Smith, the hot rising country music star with Texas roots, who will headline at the Gillespie County Fair’s Saturday night dance.

The Dallas native and A&M graduate worked in Nashville as a songwriter, and has performed at the White House three times.

His 2013 album, “Dirt Road Driveway” climbed both the Country and Indie music charts. His alter-ego, Earl Dibbles Jr., has become an internet phenomenon with his music videos.

I really wanted to interview this guy. He is just so popular and busy right now, and despite great cooperation from his management, we just couldn’t connect. Finally they asked if I could submit three questions for a written response. I dutifully did, but my deadline passed, so I assumed it just wasn’t going to work.

Then, just as I was about to submit my “plan B” column (which is quite good, by the way, and which I’ll use later), I received Smith’s answers.

So, though I haven’t even read them myself, I am sharing his answers with you, unedited. Let’s find out what he said ...

1) Serious question: (I’ve asked this of everyone from Ray Price to Larry Gatlin to Roy Clark)

There are thousands of talented, attractive, hard-working musicians out there trying to make it big. Those that do, have an indefinable “something” that cuts through the noise and connects with fans. Elvis had it. Sinatra had it. Gatlin, Cash, Price, Willie — all had/have it. You seem to have it.

What is “it?” And can it be cultivated/created/manipulated?

In other words, what, in your words, is the foundation of your appeal?


Granger Smith:

I believe if we both knew how to cultivate or manipulate such a thing, we would go into artist management and rule the music landscape together!

First off, I can’t count myself in the elite group of names you mentioned. Only 40-plus years later in retrospect can you really join a group like that.

I have learned that there are many paths to success in music and there are also many definitions of success. Because we each have such different paths and different satisfy-able destinations, we are really incomparable.

The foundation for most of my music making years has been connecting with the fans first. Telling my story in a way that connects with my specific group of listeners. The most difficult part of that scenario is finally identifying exactly who my listeners are, but recently we’ve really honed in on that. I would imagine Elvis, Sinatra, Gatlin, Cash and the other names you mentioned all had that in common.


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