Big Smo is turning his attention to some pretty weighty subject matter for his new album, We the People, and Taste of Country readers get to hear it first.

The album is anchored by two politically fueled tirades, beginning with the title track, "We the People," which features Casey Beathard.

"I was inspired by the events that are going on right now, the situation that I feel like America is in at this moment in time," Smo tells Taste of Country. "All of the discord that it feels like we, as people of this nation are experiencing. It isn't really a call to arms; it's more a call to attention. I want people to be aware, I want to get people talking about what's going on in order to find a solution. A lot of people are just sitting around waiting on a solution to be handed to them, whereas as I feel like if we could find a solution in ourselves as individuals, we could then embrace a solution as a people."

The final track on We the People is "My Kind America," which takes aim specifically at the current presidential election cycle and the candidates themselves.

"I'm a true American. I love true America, what it was designed to be and stand for, and what people have fought to keep it for many years," Smo observes. "And I have a genuine concern as an American for the future of us as a people. Our freedom, and with the presidential candidates that we have to represent us ... I don't believe that we have the right people to choose from to be in charge. I think a lot of us share that same feeling right now."

It isn't really a call to arms; it's more a call to attention. I want people to be aware, I want to get people talking about what's going on in order to find a solution.

The country-rocker-rapper's music has always defied easy categorization, and that's especially true of We the People, for which Smo expanded his already mutli-genre palette even further. The first song written for the project, "Struttin in the Stix," was inspired by watching the James Brown biopic Get on Up, and that funk influence colors the resulting track, which features Haden Carpenter. That kind of musical stretch set the tone for a very diverse collection of songs, including collaborations with Michael Ray on "Rollin'," Todd Nielson on "Retox" and Josie Dunn on "Never Get Old."

We the People also includes a love ballad, "Thing for You," which features William Michael Morgan and reveals Smo's more sensitive side.

"It's one of my favorites on the album, because I've never really gotten to put out a love song, and I'm a very loving man," he shares. "I was born on Valentine's Day; I don't have a choice! So tapping more into the emotion and the heart of me as an artist was fun, and I'm excited to have something like that to share with my fans."

He's particularly proud of We the People, which is set for release on July 22.

"I had more fun making this album than any other project that I've ever been a part of," Smo enthuses. "It's a true representation of the complete person that I am, when it comes to in-depth beliefs and true feelings and emotions and discourse. This album is a representation of Smo as the man and the artist."

Listen to Big Smo, We the People

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