Granger Smith: “Backroad Song” Was His Summit

He Didn’t Need a Helicopter After All

The first track on Granger Smith’s first major-label album is his first No. 1 song.

“Backroad Song,” the rural anthem Smith co-wrote with Frank Rogers, is one full of summertime hay fields, dusty windshields, windows down, and the rhythm of an old grey blacktop.


It’s tried and true country music, and it has just landed him at the top of the charts.

But Smith admitted to me that that was a goal he never thought he’d reach.

“When I first moved to Nashville to write, that was the pie in the sky. It was: get a cut, get a single, and last but not least, get a No. 1 song,” Smith told me when we caught up at Country Radio Seminar on Wednesday (Feb. 10). “Just to get a cut seemed impossible, so to have a No.1 song? I thought I’d have a better chance of winning the lottery.”

The picture Smith painted me of what his journey has been like since moving from Dallas to Nashville when he was still a teenager was simultaneously beautiful and grueling.

“Starting out, it was like I was in the valley at the bottom of the mountain, and I was looking at the top of the mountain. That peak was a No. 1 song. It seemed impossible. There’s no way I’d get up there unless I had a helicopter,” Smith laughed.

But he didn’t have one, so he started walking.

“I started walking up the hill, for so long. And now that the peak is right here,” he explained with the kind of vivid imagery that only an artist can, “it doesn’t seem like it’s the same unreachable one I saw when I was standing at the bottom of the mountain.”

Smith’s new album Remington is set for release on March 4.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.