Dallas Smith released his latest EP, Kids With Cars, last fall, and Taste of Country chatted with the singer about his new music and favorite car memories, as well as the transition from fronting ’90s rock band Default to a country career.
Smith says he likes to record and release songs that come out of left field, and his current single, “Kids With Cars,” represents exactly this with its edgy bass line and Smith’s distinct vocals.
“I think that song is quite different than any other topic that’s being sung about and being written about right now,” he says over the phone, calling from his home. “That song really stood out to me. I thought it would stand out at radio and people would remember that song.”
He says when he first heard the song, it instantly took him back to high school.
“Each group of friends had their own type of car,” he recalls. “You could tell which family had a lot of money. It just took me back to a great time in my life where it was care free. I think everybody’s gone through that experience through high school.”
On Smith’s new EP the car theme runs throughout, with songs like “Kids With Cars” and “Wastin’ Gas.” So, what’s his favorite memory involving a car? He admits that he has a few. “Kids With Cars” specifically though, takes him back to his first car, which was a 1976 Dodge Dart Lite.
“It was a car my grandpa found and gave me when I graduated. It was actually Al Bundy’s car from Married With Children. It was the same exact car he had in his garage,” he says with a laugh. “I had a lot of memories growing up. Whenever I think about a car, it always takes me back to that one and that feeling of freedom. There’s a song called ‘Wastin’ Gas’ and it’s that same thing, same feeling. That freedom you get when you get your first car. You’re picking up friends and driving and have nowhere to go. Freedom from your parents. A rite of passage. That song takes me back to that time.”
Smith says when crafting his song selection for the EP, he constantly listens for what will work best in his live show as it’s his favorite part of his career for the connection with the fans. He says most of his songs lean towards having more energy so they’re fun to play live.
Before Smith pursued a career as a solo country artist, he fronted ’90s rock band Default, known for their hit “Wasting My Time.” He says that his time in Default taught him that there’s no time for rookie mistakes when putting together a record and a tour. From his time in Default, he has learned to take care of himself and his voice to make sure he never has to cancel a show.
“I never let nerves get the best of me. Even if something happens that’s not supposed to happen, laugh it off. Enjoy it,” he says. “I forget words all the time to my own songs but instead of getting upset with it you just laugh.”
He adds that his goal for his latest EP is to create a selection of songs that fans can listen to and escape, whether they’re having a good day or a lousy day.
“That was my deal when I was growing up, that’s what I got most from the music. No matter what was going on with your life, whether the day or the stresses, you can always put on a CD and escape that for a little while,” he reflects. “That’s what I hope my record is doing. It’s positive in it’s message in general. Hopefully it becomes an escape.”
Dallas Smith’s Kids With Cars EP is available on iTunes.
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