(Reggie Beehner)

By Brittany Davenport

Two years ago, Corey Smith could be found at a high school in Georgia teaching social studies. But that was before he realized his night gig, music, had really picked up.When Smith realized he’d sold out a pre-sale show at one of Georgia’s biggest ampetheaters, he decided to make a few changes.

“I think it just got to a point where I was making a lot more money playing music than teaching school,” Smith said.

Unsigned, Smith said he has no desire to sign his life over to a big-time record label.

“That’s how we all like it right now,” he said.

Smith said he is able to control the music writing when he records and when he goes on tour.

And he said making money has never been a focus.

“I never sat out to make something to make money off of it and a record label; that’s exactly what they are. They’re out to make money. I don’t really care so much about that,” Smith said.

Smith said he doesn’t want to sign with a company that doesn’t’ know him or his family or what he’s all about. But, as an artist, Smith said he would like to know as many people as possible are hearing his music.

Touring is one way Smith makes that happen.

“I like to travel. I like to see the country, free food and kind of take in the different cultures,” Smith said.

At the same time, Smith said traveling is the hardest part of his career. With two boys, ages 1 and 2, and a wife at home, Smith said he constantly battles being homesick

But he works around it, he said. He planned a Halloween outing so he could take his two sons, dressed as Mickey Mouse and a turtle, trick-or-treating. And Smith didn’t miss out on the fun; he dressed up as a convict while his wife went as a police officer.

“They got tons of candy. too much,” Smith said. As far as his music goes, Smith likes to call it Americana.

From George Jones to the Fugees, all the influences are there, like a catch-all, he said.

Smith has played shows in Kentucky before and he said some of his most memorable shows have been in the Bluegrass State.

“(There’s) just a piece of mind that comes from it, being on stage. There’s a point where everything melts away and you feed off the energy of the crowd,” Smith said. “It’s a huge high.”

Smith had a run in with anxious fans as well. The funniest one he has on tape.

Smith said he was performing at an outside amphitheater when a fight broke out during his encore performance. As the security personnel ran to break up the fight, a drunken frat kid, as Smith described him, decided to jump onstage with Smith.

But as soon as Smith made eye contact with him, the kid’s face turned to “sheer terror” as Smith’s drummer ran across the stage, clothes-lined the kid and dragged him off stage. But out-of-control fans are not the only bizarre encounters Smith experienced. “I get people wanting me to sign their foreheads or their boobs, or take their girlfriend home; it’s crazy,” he said.

But the best part about talking with his fans was hearing his music helped someone get through hard times, he said.

Smith encouraged students to come to the show and have a good time, forget about things and sing along, because that’s what it’s all about.

“I can’t wait,” he said.