With next to no radio support, Jefferson, Georgia, singer-songwriter Corey Smith has amassed for himself country's most dedicated cult following. His concerts are consistently well-sold, from the southeast to the northeast, with a steady stream of passionate college-aged fans singing along to coming-of-age anthems like "Twenty-One" and "Carolina." But such success didn't come quickly — Smith has an aversion to the easy way, which he addresses in his new song, the biting "Fast Track."
"When I started doing this almost a decade ago, I made a conscious effort not to take shortcuts. To figure it out on my own, rather than go to Nashville and go through the writing seminars that the system is there," Smith tells Rolling Stone Country, going on to reveal his roots as a former social-studies teacher. "The companies that run the machine [in Nashville] have to report quarterly profits, so they have a fiduciary responsibility to create shortcuts. And those shortcuts are designed to create the illusion of authenticity, which is not to say that there is a complete lack of authenticity in country music. There are bright spots in the format, but this song is my way of expressing my own jadedness."