Corey Smith is from the same Georgia town as Brantley Gilbert, and the two have a history together. Now that Smith is preparing to release a new album, the singer stopped by the ToC Nights studio to chat with Sam Alex about both.

Before Smith was a country singer, he and Gilbert attended the same high school, and the two developed a business relationship after Gilbert's graduation. “That’s when I put out my first few records," Smith shares. "Back then, Brantley was just out of high school. So he actually toured with me for the first two or three years I started doing this."

Smith helped Gilbert out, and — although he may not have predicted exactly how successful Gilbert would be — he seemed to know he'd make something of himself.

“I’m not surprised he’s had so much success but that much, yeah, it’s amazing," Smith admits. "I’m sure he’s at awe at the whole thing, too. It’s pretty amazing.”

Smith has seen his own success over the years. In fact, he's getting ready to release his 10th or 11th album (depending on how you count them) very soon. The record is set for a June 23 release, and now that it's complete, the singer says the whole waiting process is sort of like another high-intensity activity.

“It’s kind of like skydiving," Smith admits. "The record comes out and it’s very much out of my hands now. I'm just free falling and we’ll see how it does."

Things changed with this album, While the Gettin‘ Is Good, because for the first time, Smith turned over the production credits to someone else. "It took over three years for me to get to this place," he says. "I recorded the record twice and failed. I was producing it myself and I just got to a point where it wasn’t the best I could do. I’d produced all my other records, I wrote all the songs on all the records by myself including this one, but I got to the point as a producer where I knew I needed someone to help me. So I turned over the reigns to Keith Stegall.”

Stegall has worked with people like Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Merle Haggard and more, and Smith knows it was the right move: “I think he brought out the best in me as well as my band."

Sam Alex is the host of Taste of Country Nights radio, a syndicated night show which airs on more than 60 Townsquare Media Group stations nationwide.

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