By Aaron Wagner
Country music is synonymous with summer and do we have the summer jam for you.
Hailing from Alabama, Brett Stafford Smith is a rising country singer who released his debut single “Buddy With a Boat” recently. For a debut release you couldn’t ask for much more.
The song is cleverly written and supported by an infectious production that makes the song easy to listen to. Brett himself delivers on the vocals as he sings about trying to get through the week so he can get out on the water where his worries disappear.
Brett was gracious to chat with us about his debut release and what this song means for him as he officially launches his career.
What was the songwriting process like for “Buddy With a Boat?”
“I remember my two co-writers Elmer Knable and Jake Greene coming over to my place and shooting the breeze before we started writing. I heard Jake mention how he had gone out on his buddy’s boat over the weekend. When we picked up the guitars I threw the idea out and we formed a character who didn’t have anything but what got him through the week was knowing he was gonna be on his buddy’s boat on the weekend.”
“Jake came up with the walk down lick and Elmer does his thing which I’m wanting to coin in Nashville as “Elmer it.” He types every line anyone in the room says and it gives all the writers so much content to use. I love that dude.”
How soon after it was written did you know you had to record it?
“I work songs live at gigs to try and find the right structure, tempo, key, etc. Sometimes they stick and sometimes they don’t. I played a tiny spot near Atlanta on a rainy Thursday in the fall of 2019 to maybe about 8 people. I performed “Buddy” and saw this couple with the biggest smile on their faces when I got done. They talked to me afterwards about how much they enjoyed that song so I added it to the list of potential recordings.
“I knew I was going into record 3 songs with Grady Saxman in January of 2020. He and I listened to a handful of live recordings of my songs and once we reached “Buddy” he stopped listening and started working.”
What was the most challenging aspect of the song? Whether it was in the write, working through the production, etc.?
“Honestly the most challenging part was communicating ideas over the phone or text because of the virus. Being in a room with someone gets you on the same page so much easier. The producer did a great job on this song but lots of times we couldn’t be together because of quarantine. This is my first Nashville production and we had to weave our way through it during a pandemic.”
Why did you want this song to be your first main release?
“I felt this song was a good time jam that had some meat on it. It also somewhat represents my musical style and me a broke ass songwriter. I’ve never been a person with nice things or much to my name. I drive a 2007 GMC and play and an old Yamaha guitar that i paid $80 6 years ago.”
Somewhat related, but is this the type of music that you want to be your identity as an artist?
“When we brought the musicians in to track I used our musical reference as The Raconteurs, Cage the Elephant, and Eric Church. For the next single we used Stevie Wonder, The Black Keys, and throw in some Luke Bryan. The third track which is the only love song has an 80’s vibe mixed with John Mayer and I would say Kip Moore.”
When fans and new listeners hear the song, what emotions do you want them to feel?
“I think a nice head bob and a smile. The beat comes in with authority but then the tag “ain’t got no money, ain’t got no honey, but I got me a buddy with a boat” gives you a little smirk laugh.”
Where’s your favorite place to be on a boat? Do you have a go-to spot?
“In the sun. I ain’t picky.”
Any boating traditions you have with friends or family?
“The only family member who has a boat is my grandpa and he fishes all the time on Lake Eufaula in Alabama. I’m a terrible fisherman. I just have real bad luck when it comes to it.”
Anything else people should know about the song?
“If you add it to your playlist then you will get 3 extra days on your buddy’s boat in 2020. Fact.”