While Corey Smith’s new album, While the Gettin’ Is Good, is his first working with a Nashville producer in Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band), the Jefferson, Georgia, singer-songwriter went back to his bare-bones roots to help promote the LP. With just his acoustic guitar, Smith played his album straight through on his back porch, returning the songs to their simplest form. For “Feet Wet,” While the Gettin’ Is Good‘s nostalgic single, he imagines himself, bare feet dangling, at his neighborhood pool. (Watch the video above.)
“Every time I hear it, I can see myself sitting at the edge of the pool, with my feet in the water, watching my kids jumping in,” Smith says. “I have my sunglasses on and that’s what it is.”
It’s a relatable image, which, for more than a decade, has been Smith’s bread and butter. A perennial favorite on college campuses, the rural-life troubadour excels at detailing the rites of passage his listeners all go through, from spring break trips as kids to soaking at the pool with their own children. While the Gettin’ Is Good furthers those themes of growing up — via the sports metaphor of “The Baseball Song” and the home-on-the-couch admission of “Ain’t Going Out Tonight” — but through the polished prism of Stegall’s focused production.
“Working with Stegall wasn’t a function of me wanting to make a hit record so I can be a big country star,” Smith tells Rolling Stone Country. “It was the function of me as a producer realizing I had done everything I could. I hit a glass ceiling and couldn’t get better. I wanted to make records that sounded big and were dramatic and I’ve always hit stumbling blocks along the way. . . So it became time that I found a producer that made records that I was trying to emulate and always dreamed of making. That led me to Keith.”
Best known for his fan favorites “Twenty-One,” “If I Could Do It Again” and “Maybe Next Year,” Smith recently performed to an overflow crowd at CMA Music Festival. He’ll make a return appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville tonight, and headline a sold-out show at the Bluebird Café on Wednesday, before continuing his summer tour.