We caught up with Dallas Smith in Oshawa at the Tribute Communities Centre to talk about music, the tour, The Tragically Hip, doing what is right as an artist and more.
It was Friday afternoon, before Dallas hit the stage on the Side Effects Tour later in the evening, that we sat down in the seats of the hockey arena to chat. As Dallas and I sat there dressed in nearly (and coincidently) matching double denim, things felt very Canadian. And as the #1 hit maker, his openers, and crew make their way across the country, it also felt like a fitting place to be.
We opened by asking Dallas how things have been going on the tour so far. And he told us that it has been a fantastic experience from the jump. The first show in Halifax had all of the energy he hoped to see to get things going, and as they’ve tinkered and perfected everything from the lights to the sound, the show is only getting smoother as they go.
Dallas Smith’s voice had an attitude of both experience and excitement as we talked about the tour and the show. This isn’t his first rodeo, he knows what he’s getting into and what makes for a good show. But as much as he’s tuned into the technical aspects of the goings on, he’s still excited to get up on that stage every night and sing his heart out for the fans from the front row to the top of the arena. It’s awesome to see that from a dude that’s been doing this gig in one way or another for nearly 20 years now.
When we talked to Dallas in the summer we asked about the next time he’d have some time off, thinking that it would be after the Side Effects Tour wraps… but that’s not quite it.
Dallas has been announced as a performer on the CP Holiday Train in the lead up to Christmas this year, playing stops along the rails between December 2 and 17. Check the tour schedule to see where you can find Dallas, Terri Clark, and Kelly Prescott on their travels.
With those dates added to his schedule, Dallas told us that he’ll have about 10 days off between the end of the tour and his train run – but in the new year he’ll be taking a time out to rest up and take a little (well deserved) break.
Because of the timing of our chance to see Dallas, we talked about Gord Downie and his passing. Smith’s tour was the first to play Kingston after their hometown hero’s death, and he told us that it was heavy. He also told us that he didn’t want to fall into a trap of making a tribute to Gord and The Hip all about him.
So, Dallas and the band paid tribute in their own way. Before his set, the boys played Grace, Too, said a few words to the crowd, left the stage as a couple more Hip songs played over the speakers, and then everyone came back out to play the regular set in full.
While we had Dallas with us we took the opportunity to play a round of 5 Quick Questions with the Canadian country star. Watch it now!
It’s clear that following his own path and doing what’s important to him personally and artistically is #1 for Dallas Smith. In our interview and later on stage he talked about doing what he needs to do, following his heart, and making the decisions and music that he needs and wants to make.
It’s an attitude that comes with experience, courage, and conviction – three things that Smith has in spades.
It’s also something that he’s trying to pass onto other artists, namely Shawn Austin and Andrew Hyatt, who Dallas is working with and has brought out on the Side Effects Tour with him.
And, while we were at the arena in Oshawa we got to hang out with Shawn Austin for a few minutes in the locker room to talk about this music, career, and how the tour has been for him so far.
The Vancouver native told us that the response to his current single, Paradise Found, has been amazing and more than they expected. To see the track break the top 30 has changed the immediate plans for Austin, but it’s not bumming him out too much.
However, there is new music coming from the emerging artist. A new single is ready to go, and will be hitting the airwaves early in the new year. And there will be an album to follow that up, giving country fans a chance to truly experience what he’s got to offer.
While we had Shawn with us we took the chance to ask him a few quick questions including…
Q: Who is your dream duet partner right now?
Shawn: Jess Moskaluke
Q: Who would you love to play a show with?
Shawn: Brett Eldredge, Brett Young… and Garth Brooks
When we asked about the tour, Shawn told us that the experience of getting up on stage with Dallas every night has been great. And to see how it can all come together at the highest levels has given him new goals and career achievements to strive for.
Note: We saw Shawn take the stage with Dallas Smith to sing A Girl Like You on Friday night, and dude knocked it out of the park.
Be ready to hear more from Shawn Austin in the new year, and check out Paradise Found if you don’t know it already.
Before we finished up our hang out with Dallas in the seats of the arena, we asked him about his experience on the set of Chad Brownlee’s Out Of The Blue music video. He told us that he was happy to be part of the production, and that when Chad and (director) Stephano Barberis asked him to be in it, he was in.
If you’ve seen the video, you know it’s a fun one, and it’s easy to see that Dallas truly does have a great relationship with Chad, as well as Stephano, the godfather of his little girl.
Friday night, after the chairs were set up on wood covering the ice, the fans filed in, the beer started flowing, Lauren Alaina and The Cadillac Three revved up the crowd, and then Dallas Smith finished the job.
Once again Dallas proved that he belongs at the top, and he wowed the crowd from start to finish… just like he did on the dates before he got to Oshawa, and like he’ll do on the rest of the Side Effects Tour.