The next few months will mark the end of Granger Smith and Earl Dibbles, Jr.
The “Backroad Song” singer announced earlier this month that he would be stepping away from his two-decade country music career to focus on ministry, a decision that was likely impacted by the tragic loss of his son, River, in 2019.
Granger recently shared in an interview that stepping away from country music was a relief for him, sharing that he felt he was actively lying to fans he performed for:
“For the last few years, a handful of people had known that I was probably leaving country music.
It’s difficult to get on stage in different environments, in different cities and play music for people knowing, as I’m looking into their eyes, that I’m probably going to tell them in a few months that I’m not doing this anymore.
That’s a difficult way to live. And so, there’s a big sense of relief now that I’ve told everyone.”
In previous announcements, Granger shared that he was no longer able to align the country music industry and his religious beliefs, which probably adds to the relief he’s feeling by stepping away.
“I wrestled with the idea for a long time that this doesn’t feel right. A lot of people will probably think, ‘Why don’t you just sing country music, but talk about God on the stage?’ Or, ‘Why don’t you sing a couple of hymns on the stage? And that fixes everything.’
I wrestled with that for a couple of years.… A lot of pastors and preachers told me, ‘Country music is your ministry, brother. You’re in a dark world. You’re bringing light to a dark world. You’re going into bars and stages where people might not have heard the message of Christ, and you get to speak it – that is your ministry.’”
Granger confesses that he used to think he could balance country music and his call to ministry, but he has since changed that position:
“It wasn’t ever about finding the best platform to tell people about Christ. The first thing that needed to happen was I needed to make myself smaller because I was exalting myself on the stage. I was glorifying myself. I was seeking praise from people.
And by doing that, it doesn’t matter if I was proclaiming Christ, because I was doing it the wrong way. I was proclaiming Christ from a self-exalting platform. And that was the contradiction I finally had to come to terms with.
I might have a stage down the road, but right now I need to completely surrender that and give it over to God.”
He also shared in his retirement announcement that he’s been actively attending seminary school and has also written a book dedicated to his late son.
Granger and his alter ego, Earl Dibbles Jr., will wrap their final show appearance on August 26th at Billy Bob’s, and I almost guarantee the sold-out show is going to be a sad goodbye.