Corey Smith enjoys listening to a lot of different types of music, but country is special to him.
“I love the honesty in country music,” he said. “It is the music of the common man, talking about everyday struggles.”
The singer/songwriter says he has lived many of the songs he has written. He has an intimate connection with each.
And members of his audience can feel that.
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Smith, 40, a popular performer who has recorded 10 albums and sold more than a million records, will be in concert Saturday at Woodruff Park.
Also performing will be country artists Ricky Gunn and Sarah Allison Turner.
Smith lives in Jefferson, Ga., where he was raised. He is a University of Georgia graduate who recorded his first three albums while working as a high school teacher.
The artist, with four musicians, performs about 120 shows across the nation each year.
Every song he sings is something he composed.
“A lot of singers have co-writers but I don’t. I think that makes me different,” he said.
It was natural for Smith to become a country singer. His father played in a country/southern rock band.
“I grew up around the music,” he said.
Artists he lists as influences include Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Travis Tritt.
He said that his music has gained him a lot of followers.
“I never had a hit song on the radio but there are a lot of songs that people always want to hear, more than I can perform in one show,” he said.
The independent artist produces his own albums and is currently working on his 11th. He said he does not release one until every song is “cool,” just the way he wants it to sound.
“It is coming slowly but surely,” he said of his latest album.
Ricky Gunn was born and raised in Columbus. A graduate of Shaw High School, his first album was “Livin’ Like Me.”
His career really took off when he won back-to-back honors in 2011 and 2012 as best male country artist at the Georgia Music Awards.
Some country artists who have influenced him include Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Conway Twitty.
Sarah Allison Turner is considered a star on the rise and will be bringing her country/southern rock sound to town.
She has performed with artists such as Exile, Jake Owen and Eric Church.
Turner co-wrote Tyler Farr’s new single “I Should Go to Church Sometime.”
She lists Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack and Linda Ronstadt among artists who have influenced her.
If you go
What: Corey Smith in concert with Sarah Allison Turner and Ricky Gunn
When: Saturday, Aug. 5 (rain or shine). Gates open at 6 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m. with Smith taking the stage around 9:30 p.m.
Where: Woodruff Park, 1000 Bay Ave. in Columbus
Tickets: At the gate or visit www.xorbia.com