Corey Smith

Rick's Cafe presents

Corey Smith

The Wilson Brothers

Thu, January 18, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 10:00 pm

$15.00 - $20.00

This event is 18 and over

Corey Smith
Corey Smith
The way Corey Smith sees it, he owes a debt to his fans. And it's one he is determined to repay with his 10th album, While the Gettin' Is Good. The project, released on Sugar Hill Records, marks the first time that the singer-songwriter, a wildly popular touring artist who has produced all of his past efforts, has turned over the reins to a bona fide country music producer in Keith Stegall. The result is Smith's most ambitious record yet, as well as a return on the investment made by the fans who have supported him since his first album in 2003.

"A lot of start-up acts are using fan-funded programs to finance their record. That's what my whole career has been: Kickstarter before Kickstarter. When my fans show up and buy a ticket and a t-shirt, they're investing in what I'm doing," says Corey. "It's my responsibility to invest it wisely and give them the best album I can. That's what led me to While the Gettin' Is Good."

It's also what led him to Stegall, who has produced such radio heavyweights as Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band. It was the producer's track record, country-music experience and easy-going nature that convinced Corey that he was the man to refine his signature acoustic sound. "Keith knows how to make country records," he says, "but I wanted to make my kind of country record and he understood that immediately. He simply wanted to get us comfortable in a studio environment so we could do what we do onstage every night. For me, it was very liberating to be able to focus solely on performing and not be burdened by a lot of the decision-making and drilling down that goes into producing. It was the first time I was able to go into the studio and focus on what I do best. Keith was there to handle the rest."

A collection of 12 songs, While the Gettin' Is Good was written entirely by Corey. As such, it's a deeply personal album, one that explores themes of love, hometown pride and even personal discovery. A close relative inspired one of the record's highlights, "Bend," about learning how to adapt to what life throws at you.

"I wrote 'Bend' about a family member who was struggling with issues and I realized through writing this song that I was also talking about myself at the same time," says Corey, who scored a Top 20 album with The Broken Record in 2011. "So that song really hits home."

Still, the album stands as the Jefferson, Georgia, native's most upbeat. Especially on the nostalgic "Pride," a bouncing look back at Corey's high school days, from pep rallies to game day. His children attend the same school he did and together they often attend high-school football games, where the one-time social studies teacher sees friendly faces from his past.

"I remember sitting up in the stands going, 'Man, this is so cool.' I'm so glad we decided to stay here and let my kids be a part of this tradition," he says. "'Pride' summarizes who I am and even how my career has developed."

Likewise, album opener "Don't Mind" coasts along with a New Orleans vibe, full of fiddle and clarinet. A fun, happy song, it sets the tone for the record and pays tribute to the things we all gladly bear when we're in love. It also epitomizes Corey's current worldview.

"I have a 2006 truck that runs great, so I don't need a new truck. I don't have much time to get on a big lake, so I don't need a bass boat. I could have bought some really cool stuff with the money that I spent on this record, but I didn't, because I'm happy," he says. "It's a privilege to be able to do something like this, finance it myself and not have anyone telling me how my music needs to sound."

Nonetheless, Corey has hit on the perfect song for today's country radio: the approachable ballad "Taking the Edge Off." It's a road-weary travelogue, like Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" or Zac Brown Band's "Colder Weather," about the loneliness of touring and how people who travel combat such feelings.

"It captures a certain mood that we go through, especially in the winter. It's really a grind, it gets cold and lonely, and you're taking the edge off with a drink," he admits. "I remember being in Omaha and it was cold as hell. I worked on that tune throughout the day and night there and every time I hear it, I am transported back to that time."

Now, however, Corey is focused squarely on the future. As the new album title suggests, he's ready to make a determined grab at country's brass ring while the gettin' is good. And with Keith Stegall and Sugar Hill Records behind him, the gettin' has never been better. As the perseverant Corey is fond of saying, "There is more than one way to skin a cat in country music."

"I always dreamed of being able to make a record like this. I wanted to explore all the possibilities of a song and work with a producer who was among the best and who could teach me," he says. "What makes me different is that I write all these songs, and I write them from the heart. I've lived them."

Which is exactly why his fans are willing to go along for the ride and invest so much in an artist who speaks to their way of life. To Corey, While the Gettin' Is Good is his way of opening up his heart, along with his wallet, and paying them back.

"I'm going to take the goodwill they've given me and continually invest it into making better and better records that reflect who I am and my vision," he says. "They've entrusted me with a lot, so I'm trying to be the best steward I can be."
The Wilson Brothers
The Wilson Brothers
“The path don’t matter, it’s the way you take it, be what you want and don’t ever fake it” is not just the lyrics to the singing/songwriting brothers’ Wilson song, “All About The Ride,” it is the way they make music and live their lives. That ride has taken Chad and Kyle Wilson from their small Alabama home town to stages big and small across the United States.
 
The fourth generation in a family of musicians and entertainers, Chad began traveling with the Johnson Quartet, his grandparents southern gospel quartet, at the tender age of four. Kyle joined the family on the road almost at birth and both brothers traveled with their family to churches, revivals, and outdoor music events across the country. “Something about the music our grandparents played and sang was extremely moving,” says Chad. “Their music was captivating and real and at an early age, we learned the value of believing in what you sing.”
 
The brothers grew up understanding the importance of a strong family foundation with strong values. Says Kyle, “Our dad was a preacher and he and our mom performed as a gospel duo, if the church doors were opened, we were there.” Wilson credits their grandmother with teaching them the value of believing in themselves. “That woman has single handedly had the most influence in our lives. She and our Grandpa bought us our first guitars and taught us how to play. We are who we are because of them,” says Chad.
 
Like many young men from a small town, as they grew up the pull to get out and see what the world was about on their own grew stronger. “We had to continue that ‘hands on education’ that can’t be taught,” laughs the brothers. While Kyle finished school and honed his guitar skills in Alabama, Chad made the move to Nashville and quickly signed a record deal. Kyle soon signed on as the lead guitar player for the Wayne Mills Band and played with several other national acts. Their solo careers were successful, but Chad was nearing the end of his record deal and Kyle, who had also moved to Nashville, was increasingly leaning more towards playing his own original music. Both were strongly lured by the family harmonies and the music created from the shared experienced.
 
The songs that the brothers wrote were recorded by a number of artists and their entwined family harmonies gained them immediate notoriety around Nashville. After an acoustic performance at an infamous Nashville night spot, successful multi-platinum songwriter Kenny Lamb approached the brothers and offered a set up a meeting with renowned producer Chris Rowe. That meeting provided the catalyst for Wilson to move to the next step.
 
Now with eleven songs recorded, all co written by Chad and Kyle Wilson and produced by Rowe, the brothers Wilson are back where they started…on the road. But this time with music that is stamped with their own unique style. Music that honors the past, but refuses to live in it pushing the boundaries of country music forward, creating an exciting new blend that is as emotionally potent as it is sonically appealing.
Venue Information:
Rick's Cafe
319 Highway 82 East
Starkville, MS, 39759
http://www.rickscafe.net/