What’s one of the side effects of rock ‘n’ roll stardom?
Apart from liver failure or jail time, you might be hit with the urge to dabble in country music.
In Dallas Smith‘s case, his leap from Default frontman to urban cowboy was as effortless as roping turtles. He’s notched a Juno, a Canadian Country Music Award and 10 Top 10 hits.
He plays Rogers Place Friday with Keith Urban.
• Side Effects, released Sept. 2, is Smith’s third country album in four years. While he co-wrote some of the tunes on his debut, Jumped Right In, his latest features 13 songs by some of Nashville’s finest tunesmiths, including Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally and Jimmy Robbins (One Little Kiss), and Rodney Clawson and Jamie Moore (50/50). “I like writing by myself but the whole co-write thing, where you get into the office from nine to five, is weird to me,” says Smith, who lives in Vancouver. “I think it’s a matter of doing it repetitively and being comfortable with it to make yourself successful at it. I don’t spend enough time in Nashville to do that. But I can see myself being down there more in the future.”
• American country star Jake Owen initially recorded One Little Kiss for his 2013 album, Days of Gold. Smith fell in love with the ditty and decided to cover it for Side Effects. “We always talked about how great that song was and how it should’ve been a single for Jake. I think that song would’ve been huge,” he says. “I talked to Jake about it, we played a show in London, Ont., and I said: ‘Dude, I’ve never been in this situation before in 16 years of touring: ‘Are you playing this song? Would you be cool if I play it?’ He had no problem with it.” One Little Kiss ended up charting at No. 5 on the Canadian country charts.
• His current single, Autograph, was almost released by Keith Urban. The tune, a gorgeous piano number, was written by The Voice contestant Nicolle Clawson, Ross Copperman and Haley Georgia. “I wanted to record the song for my last album, Lifted, but then Keith took it.” says Smith. “When it didn’t make his record, the song got sent back to me and I quickly recorded it so nobody could take it away from me again. But now it’s the song I’m promoting while I open up for Keith, so I hope we have a good chuckle over that.”
• Joey Moi is the producer of all three of Smith’s country albums. The two go back to the early days of Default — Moi worked as a mixer and engineer on the band’s 2001 debut, The Fallout, then added his talents here and there on Default’s next three albums. “My first time in a vocal booth was with Joey, when he was first out of recording school in Vancouver,” says Smith. “I look up to him a lot. He’s very talented, and I’d be stupid not to work with him. I think we’ve made a couple of really great records together and they’ve done great things for my career. Why switch? Besides, we’re good friends.”
• Smith doesn’t rule out a reunion with his Default pals. In 2013, the Vancouver rockers announced they were taking a break to pursue other projects. Guitarist Jeremy Hora is in a blues/rock band, Black Tone Heart. Drummer Danny Craig is a producer, while bassist Dave Benedict is pursuing photography. “I’m sure the day will come when a reunion tour makes sense to do, but right now it doesn’t,” says Smith. “I wouldn’t be opposed to playing a show if it was the right thing, but nothing like that has shown its face.”