Cut x Cuts
Granger: “Man Made” is one of my personal favorites on this whole project counting Volume
One and Volume Two. It’s just a simple love song but presented in like a lyrical way that I’ve never said before and maybe that I’ve never even heard before in any other song. And I wanted a really simple production mimicking like a classic Randy Travis song as if it were remade in today’s music. And the crazy thing is, there’s only two players on this entire track. It’s my buddy Jerry Roe on drums and Derek Wells playing every other instrument and that’s unlike most of my songs. The electric guitar is very minimal in this production and the resonator guitar, which is the main guitar that you hear, kind of sounds like a dobro. Takes all the glory. I love this song and I love the production of it.
"BUY A BOY A BASEBALL"
Granger: This song showed up late to the game for me. My friend and singer for High Valley, Brad Rempel, texted me one week before I needed to have all the songs turned in completely mixed and mastered, done. And I texted him right back because I saw that he sent a song for me to listen to. I texted him right back and said “Hey buddy, before I even listen, I need to tell you that I’m not looking for any songs because the album’s finished and turned in.” And then after I sent that text, I listened to it and I was like “Oh dang it!” Then I played it for Amber and she’s like “Baby, you have to record this!” And my heart sank because I knew she was right. And so I called my guitar player, Fish, and I asked him to make a track and make all the parts last minute. And then I sent that track to Jerry for drums. And meanwhile, I was singing it from a little demo that I had made, and this all happened in the same day. So obviously you heard the song, so we’ve made the deadline and I love this song. It’s perfect for my little boy, Lincoln, and our life that we’re living and his little love for baseball right now. And I guess the moral of the story is Brad, my buddy, sent me that song just because he knew me too well.
"ANYTHING LIKE ME"
Granger: In 2019, I remember writing this song in Cincinnati, Ohio in the parking lot of the venue we are playing that night called Bogart’s. And I was with some of my buddies and this was the kind of song that started from the first line. And that line is “if you’re like me, then you might be a little less blacktop, a little more gravel,” and the song was super easy after that. It really wrote itself and I love it when a song is simple enough to write itself right from the first line. And in the studio, it was one of the first songs that my guitar player, Fish, and I produced during COVID, so we had all the restrictions of COVID going on and we were kind of learning what we were then going to implement for the rest of the album. And the intro was originally piano, because that’s the way we made the demo, but it was a late change to guitar to help match our live show. And I love the way this turned out and the simple message that it says.
"THAT'S WHAT LOVE LOOKS LIKE"
Granger: I wrote this song with Frank Rogers and Monty Criswell. They’re two close friends and very talented writers. Monty wrote the George Strait song “I Saw God Today.” I love that song and we were talking about it on the bus on tour with me and “That’s What Love Looks Like” became an idea that kind of spurred from the kind of song that “I Saw God Today” was to George. And it wrote itself quickly that day on tour. And then in 2020, when I revisited that song, the words seemed to mean even more- especially the bridge - and it made for the perfect addition to the group of songs that I had for Volume 2. Frank also co-produced the song in the studio and that dude knows how to make a hit song… a monster song. Frank is just so good at production and so he completely crushed this one.
"WHERE I GET IT FROM"
Granger: So, this is my crowd-pleaser of the group and crazy thing is, I haven’t even played it live yet. I just have that feeling it speaks directly to Yee Yee Nation. This was another COVID production and my entire band got involved with this. And we played it at the Yee Yee Farm offices in a makeshift studio that we had built. And I was using that studio for my podcast- it’s actually where I’m sitting right now making this cut by cut - and that’s also where we sang all the gang vocals. And so that’s my band crew and anyone that was working at Yee Yee Apparel that day. That’s the voices that you hear at the end of the song to make the party atmosphere.
It was really hard to not include this song on Volume One because I wanted it out now. Wanted to play it. I knew it could move our live show forward immediately. And it’s kind of like recruiting in college football. You get a kid in there you know he’s going to impact the team right away, but you got a red-shirt him. And that’s what this felt like. But good things come to those who wait. I cannot wait to get this song in the set.
"6 STRING STORIES"
Granger: “6 String Stories” is the oldest song on the entire project. I believe it first began in 2016 when I had the idea on an airplane. And I pitched it to my guitar player, Fish, and he made a track and I remember it being in a hotel somewhere in the Northeast and messing with his track and trying to combine the lyrics that I had written on the airplane. And we got the general vibe and I just never got excited about the song which is why I never considered it for my previous album “When the Good Guys Win” but during COVID, I revisited the song and something changed my mind. I just loved it and the crazy thing is it really didn’t change that much from its original form in 2016 but it just spoke to me completely different this year. And the song is really the story of my life - my music life - and the story of what all my past albums mean to me and how important it’s been to put those ideas to melody over the last decade for me - decade and a half -and I love that song for that reason.
"WORKAHOLIC" (feat. Earl Dibbles Jr.)
Granger: I’ve been sitting on “Workaholic” for a long time. I just didn’t know what to do with it. It just never really felt like my style in anyway. And I remember one day Tyler, my brother, called me and he said “Man, I got it. What if “Workaholic” was an Earl song?” So, I thought about it for a bit. I knew he was right. I got to work right away and I changed the choruses and the second verse by adding some more Earl-isms, some Earl subjects, and I took out a girl that was in the song -there was a part about a girlfriend that he was in love with- took that out and suddenly it felt great. In production we used almost the exact same tracks from the demo, we just spiced them up a little bit because they were already so catchy. We didn’t want to ruin that already really fun vibe. This is one of those songs just... can’t wait for the music video. Can’t wait for it live. And unlike the other Earl song on this record, “Diesel,” “Diesel” is much more what you would expect, and “Workaholic” is something new and different. So, it’s like another evolution for Earl just like “Don’t Tread on Me” was, which I love for this song. Can’t wait to see what it does to our live set.
"DIESEL" (feat. Earl Dibbles Jr.)
Granger: I’ve had the idea for a long time for an Earl song that’s called “Diesel.” It seems like that title is just a no-brainer for Earl Dibbles Jr. And I wanted this song to have an older Earl sound like it might’ve appeared on “Dirt Road Driveway” album of mine that had “Country Boy Love” and “The Country Boy Song.” So I was working on it and I kind of had some pieces put together and one day I was writing with my friends and one of the guys was Monty Criswell who I wrote “That’s What Love Looks Like” with and he pitched me a song that day called “Diesel.” And so then that becomes a dilemma. It’s a dilemma for any songwriter when something like this happens. You know, I could continue my work on my version but there’s no way that they wouldn’t think that I stole that idea from them on the bus when he played it to me. So I did the right thing and included all of the guys that Monty had on his song on to my song and I think it’s better for it. It’s super rockin’. It brings home exactly the idea I wanted with all the guitars in your face that we could ever want and it’s the perfect classic traditional Earl song.
Hey y’all! It’s Granger Smith and my new album Country Things is out now!
Man Made (Official Audio)