Photo: Jim Wright
Autos and car culture are a reoccurring theme in the music of Dallas Smith, and that's especially true with his new hit single, "Kids With Cars." Odometer.com recently caught up with the burgeoning country star to discuss his affinity for classic Detroit rides and his previous life as an alt-rocker you've definitely heard – if not heard of.
His hometown of Langley, British Columbia, hosts the Langley Good Times Cruise-In (above) that draws hundreds of classic-car owners from across western Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
"My hometown has more classic cars per capita than anywhere in Canada," says Smith. "There were a lot of kids I was friends with who had cool cars. And their dads had even cooler cars."
"We hung out and drove around," says Smith. "That's what we did. I think a lot of people can relate to that."
Check out the video of "Kids With Cars"
"If you can envision the car Al Bundy drove on 'Married With Children,' then you can picture my first car -- a 1976 Dodge Dart Lite. I loved it. I wanted to restore one, but they're impossible to find these days.
Smith couldn't find a '76 Dodge Dart to restore, but he did find a similar car – a 1971 Dodge Demon. "It has 65,000 original miles and is show ready," boasts Smith, who also has a 2015 Dodge Challenger.
See also: 13 Country Music Stars and Their Trucks
"Everybody assumes it's a made up name. But I've got a license to prove it."
"The men in my family have the initials D.H. Smith, so my dad had to track down a name that began with D," says Smith. "Dallas Smith was a hockey player who played on the Boston Bruins with Bobby Orr. So, that's where I got my name. How Canadian is that?"
Although he's already an accomplished crossover artist in his native Canada, Smith is perhaps best known in the U.S. for fronting the Vancouver-based rock band Default, whose 2002 hit "Wasting My Time" rode to the top of the American charts.
Both classic rock and country music provided the background music to Smith's early childhood. As a teen, Smith says he was a "huge Led Zeppelin fan," but in recent years he's felt the influence of the country music his mother would listen to, such as the Judds (above) and Reba McEntire.
"I just felt uninspired," he says of the transition. "We [Default] were doing a cross-Canada tour in 2009, and I remember thinking if I'm not happy after putting on these arena shows, then something is wrong. I'd been talking about a country album for a while with my longtime producer Joey Moi. We went down to Nashville and got it rolling."
Smith still lives in his childhood town of Langley, British Columbia.
"It might be better and easier for my career if I moved to Nashville," says Smith. "But my roots are here. My wife and kids (a 10-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter) are here and my parents are here. It's home."
"It's tough to be happy and healthy when your traveling in a tube (tour bus) with 10 other guys," says Smith, who's accustomed to spending months on the road. "Having a coffee maker and a juicer can really be difference makers to have on the bus."
"When I get home from a tour, I look forward to getting in the car and driving around," says Smith. "And I often find myself driving in silence. Occasionally I'll listen to sports talk radio. But I'm surrounded by so much music all the time, that I just like to zone out and drive."
Find out more about Dallas Smith at dallassmithmusic.com.