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Meet Rett Smith: A Texas Musician Singing About a Better Day

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Meet Rett Smith, the musical talent who needs to be part of your life, quarantined and otherwise. This American singer/songwriter and musician conveys in his albums roads traveled, both in the outside world and deep within. His third album is due out soon, and it’s predictively timed for the uncertainty now known worldwide. TexasHillCountry.com recently interviewed Smith in anticipation of his new album Giving Up On Quitting, set for release May 22, and featuring the single “Better Day,” which sets the tone for the entire recording, as well as other poignant tracks like “Hardship Highways,” “Corner Kisses,” and “Rattlesnakes.”

Video: YouTube/Rett Smith

THC: How much influence did music have in your early life?

RS: Music had a profound impact on my early life. My best memories as a kid is driving with my Dad listening to everything from The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Doors all the way to Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon [Jennings].

THC: Was a musical path a career consideration when you were racing (alpine ski-style as a youth)?

RS: I’d say it was always a farfetched dream more than a consideration. I was always obsessed with songwriters and guitar players, but never thought I could do it. I didn’t even know a person who could play guitar. I had very little direct exposure to musicians, and so it always felt too far away to become a possibility.

THC: Walk through your creative process.

RS: For this record, I wrote almost all of the lyrics first. Starting with the question of what is the “most extreme version of truth” of the story I want to tell. I usually write the song in its in entirety within the first hour or two, and then I sit with it and edit with a guitar and find the melody from there on.

THC: What makes for a good show?

RS: Freedom. I have to be willing to lay it all on the line by being completely in the moment. I have to be willing to be completely vulnerable, to make something happen and take risks. Sometimes that means going crazy, sometimes it means to strip it all away and be completely present with the lyrics and audience.

THC: With which musician would you like to collaborate?

RS: I’ll give ya two of the many amazing musicians I’d like to collaborate with: Willie Nelson and Ryan Bingham.

Meet Rett Smith: A Texas Musician Singing About a Better Day

Photo Courtesy of MISSING PIECE GROUP

THC: How are you handling quarantine, personally and professionally?

RS: Personally I’m handling it well, trying to do my part. I do worry about the kids not getting fed at school and people not getting a paycheck. I worry about the hospital workers not having what they need. I hope this is a wakeup call for all of us. Overall, I’m grateful that my family is healthy and taking this damn thing seriously.

Professionally, this is extremely tough. Not being able to play shows while putting out a record isn’t ideal by any means. Every musician I know is in the same boat though. I’m also very much aware it’s the same for workers everywhere, and I refuse to cry poor me when the ones I love are healthy.

THC: How many clairvoyants did you consult to perfectly time “Better Day” on the new album?

RS: Well, I may or may not have used my manager’s credit card to call a psychic hotline or two. [LOL] I’m starting to question their authenticity now that they’ve missed a bigger issue coming our way…?!

THC: What are some of the inspirations behind your new single/album?

RS: I think at the core the inspiration of what I write and play will always be drawn directly from myself and my experiences. It may sound cliché to some but life and truth is the best inspiration. We all have our extremes. We all have lost someone or something we loved. We’ve all been extremely lucky. The inspiration is in there, we gotta be willing to go in and find it.

THC: Just how deep does Giving Up On Quitting get into your psyche?

RS: You’ll have to let me know as a listener. I know how these songs affect me, and I hope each person can find their own way in there and make them their own.

THC: Which of your songs would you recommend for a first time listener? Why?

RS: I’d say “Better Day” is a great starting point. I was really conscious of that when deciding it should be the first single. I believe it to be a bit devastating, a bit dark while maintaining hope for moving forward.

THC: Any parting words for John Prine (American folk singer-songwriter who died April 7, 2020)?

RS: Man, what a loss. John Prine was everything a writer or person could ever hope to be. John Prine is proof that to be a great artist, there is no requirement to be a jerk. He was a hero to many, including myself. God bless him and his family.

Previous works by Rett Smith include Tularosa, which was produced by 9x Grammy award winner Joe Nicolo, then Oscuro in 2016. Giving Up On Quitting is his third released album. Read a recent review for the latest copy by American Songwriter here. Born in West Texas, raised in New Mexico, as well as Innsbruck, Austria and Vail, Colorado, Smith spent his youth alpine ski racing. An internationally top-ranked athlete and Junior Olympic medalist, he was forced to leave the sport after incurring multiple severe injuries. Find the work of Rett Smith on SoundCloud and Spotify, as well as other sites.