ON THE COVER: Anthony Smith

MR-AR-200Label: Stroudavarious

Forthcoming Album: Sunshine, set for release in 2010

Current Single & Video: “Bringin’ Back The Sunshine”

Current Producer: James Stroud and Anthony Smith

Interesting Facts: #1: The album is scheduled to include an instrumental track called “Anaconda Cowboys,” performed with Smith’s band of the same name. #2: Smith’s first album was on Mercury Records. #3: Sunshine features a tune with Smith and the late Porter Wagoner.

Anthony Smith, the long-haired “country boy” from East Tennessee, has been known to break rules and ignore the usual polite conventions— he approaches life with the same hold-nothing-back passion that fills his music. Smith explains, “I have never tried to sound like anyone else. I have always wanted to be an original, because if you look at music, the ones who sound like nobody else are the same ones who break new ground and start new trends. I’m doing the kind of music I love in the only way I know how.”

Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith’s “Bringin’ Back The Sunshine” is the debut single from his first album on Stroudavarious Records. The song went for adds August 10 and is from his forthcoming album, Sunshine, scheduled for release in early 2010. The album is a collection of Smith original compositions, co-produced by Smith and label head/veteran hitmaker James Stroud. Smith also brought in the late Country Music Hall of Fame member Porter Wagoner on the album for one of his last studio recordings—”Hillbilly Romeos” features Wagoner’s witty commentary playing off of Smith’s lead vocals, for a fitting tribute to a country legend who loved songs that were playful and about rural life. Set for release in September, the accompanying music video was shot by Traci Goudie and features Derek Phillips (from Friday Night Lights and The Closer) and Danielle Rene (from the upcoming Terrence Maiick film starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt).

Smith’s experience includes previous success as an artist, with three Top 40 songs from his critically acclaimed first album, If That Ain’t Country. He’s also had a long string of hits as a songwriter—including George Strait’s “Run,” Trace Adkins’ “Chrome” and “I’m Tryin’,” Tim McGraw’s “Kill Myself” and “Kristofferson,” Rascal Flatts’ “My Worst Fear” and Montgomery Gentry’s “What Do Ya Think About That?,” as well as memorable cuts by Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Gretchen Wilson, Wynonna, Trisha Yearwood and many others.

Despite his many songwriter hits, Smith has always seen himself as a performer first. “I’ve never written a song for another artist to cut,” he says. “I always wrote songs for myself, for me to do on stage and to record. Other artists heard them and wanted to cut them, and that’s tremendously flattering to me. But my intent was always to be the one on stage singing what I write.”

The distinctive music Smith makes injects a rock ‘n’ roll swagger and funky, fresh rhythms into a style of music that is undeniably contemporary—and undeniably country. “I like getting a reaction,” he says. “My music isn’t the kind you sit and passively listen to. It’s going to make you move, and it’s going to make you react and feel something. I want an emotional response—whether it’s good or bad or romantic.”

What runs through each song is a big personality and the accompanying jolt of energy that Smith brings to everything he does. “I don’t like holding back,” Smith says. “I like to put it all out there, on the page and on the stage. Audiences know when you’re being real, when you’re talking about what you know and what you feel.”

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