Canaan Smith Poured His Heart Into ‘High Country Sound’: ‘I Had More To Say Than Ever Before’

“At this point, I’m so proud that I have a cumulative 12-song piece of work that will be at the…


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

April 2, 2021


12:12 pm

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Canaan Smith; Photo by Kurt Ozan

“At this point, I’m so proud that I have a cumulative 12-song piece of work that will be at the forefront of people’s discovery of who I am,” Canaan Smith tells Country Now via Zoom, from the same room where the music came together for his sophomore album, High Country Sound.

In preparation for the next chapter in his music career, Smith looked to his family and where he currently finds himself in life for inspiration.

“You’ve got to live a little to have anything to write home about. You have to live a little to experience what life’s all about and that just means the mundane live a little; Not the going out and doing wild stuff,” Smith explains. “I’ve done that and I’m gonna do it again, but right now, it’s about just being normal and regular and the day in, day out part of life.”

High Country Sound is a culmination of 12 songs that were co-written with artists such as Corey Crowder and Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. Smith even had a hand in producing eight of his songs to ensure he was getting everything out of these songs that he intended. He took the hands-on approach and he loved every minute of it.

“When I decided it was time to do an album, [it] was right after I realized I’m writing songs from the heart again, instead of writing from a place where I just wanted to get cuts or aim at radio and all that,” Smith shares. “When that shift happened, I felt more alive and more myself, like I had more to say than ever before. So that album just came together really naturally in that process.”

As a new dad to his lovely daughter, Virginia, Smith has had the pleasure of spending some much-needed time at home this past year and that has made a world of a difference for him.

“It brought me back to what I already knew,” he reflects. “I just think that family is the most important thing and love the bond that you have with your family and your friends. Just that sense of roundedness that comes from being home also spilled over into my songs and my headspace.”

Plus, Smith benefits from the extra critiques of his daughter.  “She loves listening, but she’s very picky,” the proud father says.

Virginia, both the state and his daughter, are at the forefront of this album. Smith found out that others are also really feeling the influence of his home state through the most recently released track, “Sweet Virginia.”

After receiving a direct message from a listener on social media, who Smith has never met, he found out just how deep his music can reach. The message read, “Hey dude, this is random, but I’ve only cried twice in 25 years when listening to a song. Your song “Sweet Virginia” teared me up today.” He informed Smith that this song brought back memories of his time in Virginia and promoted him to reach out to old friends. 

This simple story meant the world to Smith, that’s what music is all about for him.

“To me, that’s better than 80 million streams, that’s better than a million downloads,” he says.”That to me is everything because that’s exactly why I’m releasing this record, that’s where I’m coming from and my intention is to connect with people.”

This is an album that Smith will look back on years later and will feel great pride in. It contains his whole heart, and the hard work has not gone unnoticed.

“We’re just ecstatic as a whole that this project is what it is. It’s been the culmination of a literal full circle path that I’ve taken. So I’m thankful, I thank God for it, I really do.”

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.