Singer Dallas Smith is on the golf course as we chat by phone.
“I just hit a terrible shot,” he says from the 15th hole of the Jason Blaine Charity Golf Tournament in Pembroke, Ontario.
Bad shot aside, Smith enjoys supporting Blaine’s fundraising effort. “I have my own tournament in Langley,” he says. “In total we’ve raised close to $200,000.” The Boys of Fall Charity Golf Tournament, which he supports with country music artist and friend Chad Brownlee, helps fund JRFM’s Basics For Babies providing formula, diapers and other infant needs to Lower Mainland food banks.
That tournament is held in Smith’s hometown of Langley, BC where he continues to live with his family.
“I’ve been asked to move down to Nashville. Obviously there’s better places to be (where) there’s more access to the industry. But my family’s there, and at the end of the day, I don’t want to be leaving my wife and kids in a city that I’d still have to leave. Instead of them being at home they’d be stuck in Nashville not knowing where they are or anybody down there, so we made a decision as a family to stay.”
Smith is well-known for his years with Vancouver-based grunge rock band Default, which topped the charts in the early 2000s with hits Wasting My Time, Deny and Taking My Life Away. Default has been on hiatus since 2010, and Smith has been crooning country tunes since releasing Jumped Right In in 2012.
He claims the switch from rock to country wasn’t a difficult one for him and fans agree: Jumped Right In spawned five singles on the Canadian Hot 100 and was nominated for Country Album of the Year at the 2013 Junos. His follow up EP Tipping Point was certified Platinum and his most recent release, Lifted, won a Juno Award for Country Album of the Year and CCMA Album of the Year, as well as launching the single Wastin’ Gas into the #1 spot on Canada’s Country airplay chart.
“As I got older, I just really started gravitating more towards country music and revisiting the stuff I remembered as a kid and loving what was going on on radio now,” he says. “It just felt like a natural transition for me. It wasn’t a forced thing and it was easy to be honest.”
His music leans toward youth and rites of passage.
“Everybody’s got those memories of being in a car and growing up and all those milestones that you had. … I think the one song especially, that’s Wastin’ Gas, that’s what that song is about, just picking up your friends, doesn’t matter where you’re going. There’s really no particular destination – just that freedom.
“I think it’s a great topic to sing about. You try to connect with an audience via some nostalgia and them looking back on their lives – there’s some great times.”
Smith is performing at SunFest in its new location at Laketown Ranch July 29, this fall he joins Keith Urban on a tour of Western Canada.
“The story goes, his bandmates saw us play and told him to check us out and he invited us along on the tour,” Smith says. “I’ve been to a couple of his shows, it’s a good time, he’s a great entertainer.”
Soon Smith will head back to the recording studio to finish off his next album, which he hopes to release this fall, but for now, the golf course beckons and he heads back out to help Blaine raise funds for Ottawa Valley charities.
SunFest Laketown Ranch – July 28 to 31