Songs reflect Southern influences, experiences


Georgia musician Corey Smith is more than happy to have his compositions seen as songs of the South.


Mr. Smith, one of the support acts on the third annual Drive for Show Rock Fore! Dough bill, has found success with narrative songs spun from his experiences.

"I think my music has a real strong sense of place," he said in a recent telephone interview. "It's a reflection of who I am and the people I grew up around. I mean, I grew up in a small Baptist church and my family all lived in the same small town (Jefferson, Ga.) and my father played in a Southern rock band. My music, I like to think, is an amalgamation of all that."

Rather than depending on the standard contract-release-tour model, Mr. Smith has cultivated a fan base over the Internet. It's a strategy that seems to be working. He has sold more than 200,000 songs online and his last Augusta visit was one of the few times the now-closed Blue Horse Music Hall sold out on pre-sales alone.

"We try to keep it close to the roots live, but we're also believers in technology," he said. "The Internet has turned the industry upside down and we're able to do things that were unthinkable 10 years ago."

A live performer at heart, Mr. Smith spends a good deal of time on the road. He said making the decision to pursue music full time - he was, for a time, a high school social studies teacher - meant committing to the business and a realistic model of success.

"I'm a father of two little boys and a husband and my goal is to provide for my family, and right now, this is the best way to do that," he said. "Success is not about being a household name. I love writing songs, love sharing the songs and so I embrace that and try not to get carried away with the ego side of the business."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or


Click hereto listen to a clip of Corey Smith's If I Could Do It Again.