Conner Smith Reveals How ‘Creek Will Rise’ Set The Stage For His Forthcoming Debut Album

“I feel like that song kind of reshaped the music I was making and creating and the story I was telling,” Smith explained.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

October 24, 2023


9:42 am

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Conner Smith; Photo by Jack Owens

Conner Smith saw a major shift in his career after earning his first-ever top 20 hit at country radio with the sultry love song, “Creek Will Rise.” As a result of its rapid success, Smith reveals that the tune will continue to elevate his career as it has been tapped to serve as the lead single of his yet-to-be-announced debut album. 

The new single, which the rising star claims to be a career-changing track, was co-penned by Smith alongside Chris LaCorte, Chase McGill, and Parker Welling. The narrative boasts a more mature look into Smith’s songwriting skills as he illustrates an evening under the stars with his love interest that takes a romantic turn after getting caught in the rain together.

While reflecting on the song’s thriving journey with Country Now, Smith shared, “I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a dream come true that is. It’s just been crazy. That song is taking things to the next level. Especially country radio, it finally feels like it’s breaking through there. Just how much that changes everything for the band and I, it’s just been really special. I feel like that song kind of reshaped the music I was making and creating and the story I was telling.”

Live Version

Smith further captured the hard-hitting energy of “Creek Will Rise” when he released a new version that was recorded live during his first hometown headlining show in Nashville, TN. 

“It’s a song that kind of kicks off and brings energy and kind of sets a tone. So I thought it’d be fun to be able to capture that moment. Also, that live recording is from my first headlining show in my hometown at a historic venue, Exit/In. So we got to play in my first ever headlining tour, to an almost sold out crowd in my hometown, in Nashville, and I got to record it and have that moment.”

“I never know how a live recording is going to turn out and I was very thankful when I listened to that. I was like, wow we got to put it out there,” he added with pride.

This song has become a staple in Smith’s set. Especially now that fans have memorized every word and connected with the narrative, the young artist admits he can feel the anticipation surrounding its arrival each night. 

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“Now that people know the song, know the story, know the bridge, know the key moments, it makes it that much more fun,” he shared. “And you feel a song like that, it just gets a little bit bigger every night. I felt that with ‘Take It Slow’ last year, and now this year with ‘Creek.’ That song, I feel like it’s just a little bit louder every night we sing it.”

Yet-To-Be-Announced Debut Album

As he anticipates his next move, Conner Smith explains that the sounds and reflective storytelling of “Creek Will Rise” have become the overarching inspiration for his forthcoming album. 

“We just finished up this first record that it really kind of falls behind the lead single which is ‘Creek’. So I’m very thankful that it’s reacting well because you know the rest of the album was really shaped by what ‘Creek’ was so it’s been it’s been a sweet year championing that song.”

Creek Will Rise; Cover Art Courtesy Of The Valory Music Co
Creek Will Rise; Cover Art Courtesy Of The Valory Music Co

As something that has been years in the making, Conner Smith shared that fans can expect this full-length collection to be a “snapshot” into the last few years of learning and evolving as an artist. 

“I grew up in Nashville, signed a publishing deal at 16, signed a record deal at 18, and here I am, 23, and finally getting to make my first record, which is something that I dreamed about my whole life. You always kind of envision what will this be, and so here we are, I’m looking at these songs, I’m looking at the story we told, and I’ve said the whole time, this record cannot just be the 12 best songs I wrote…I want to really say something I want these songs to matter. I want people to understand this season of life after listening and I just feel like we did that.”

Blending Modern Country With Bluegrass

Creating this dream-come-true project has been nothing short of a milestone for the “Take It Slow” singer. From carefully selecting each track to envisioning them on the stage, Smith proudly explained that the project will entail songs that showcase various sounds and depths of storytelling that span the journey of his career. 

He continued, “I think that there’s a real interesting blend on this record that will surprise fans of where the music landed. It really is a bluegrass sort of angle on country music, and I think what we’ve tried to do is blend the modern sound of country music that I love and I grew up on with this bluegrass sort of roots that I feel like holds so much of the history of country music.”

Learning From Luke Bryan, Jordan Davis, And More

While fans await further details surrounding this project, they can catch him on the road during his next headlining run, which is also named after his top-20 and rising hit. Smith spent the year touring alongside well-established acts including Luke Bryan, Jordan Davis, and Cole Swindell. Taking in every bit of wisdom from these country stars has prepared Smith for his next solo journey. 

Luke Bryan, Conner Smith; Photo Courtesy Conner Smith
Luke Bryan, Conner Smith; Photo Courtesy Conner Smith

“I always say, anytime you’re out on the road, it just reshapes and reminds you of the whole point of the whole thing and why we write these songs and the way we do and what really matters. And [there’s] nobody better to learn from than Luke this summer, who has definitely mastered that throughout his career,” he shared of his time as a supporting act on Bryan’s Country On Tour.

Bringing his newfound wisdom and confidence into the Creek Will Rise Tour, Conner Smith hinted at his intentions to turn things up a notch with this next run of shows.

“I think the first headlining thing was really like, alright, we’ve got the set list. I think stepping into this one, I really want to elevate things and really make this more of a show than we’ve done before.”

Conner Smith’s upcoming tour will launch on November 2 in Athens, GA and run through January 27 with stops in Orlando, Fl, Chattanooga, TN, Charlotte, NC, Boston, MA and more. 

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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.