Interview: Canaan Smith opens up about Diamond On The Dresser

Diamond On The Dresser – pure emotion from Canaan Smith

In an emotional interview for both parties, Six Shooter Country writer Liz Thomas talks to Canaan Smith about the story behind his recently-released single Diamond On The Dresser.

LT: Hey! Its so good to speak to you again! So let’s do it! Diamond On The Dresser. Where did it come from?

CS: Honestly, it came from the title first. My co-writer James (McNair), had the title Diamond On The Dresser, but he didn’t know what the song was about.

(“Hey, buddy, you can’t go back there”. Sorry. I got my boy here with me today rocking his Willie Nelson shirt.)

When he threw that title out, it really just felt like, wow, that’s an amazing. You don’t hear titles like that every day. And so, we took our time with it. I think, honestly, after the song title was there, the story was easy for me to write as I have family members who are alcoholics and have been for years and years, and I’ve been on the blunt end of some really nasty scenarios and what felt like bottom of the barrel, last chance moments and they just keep happening.

It’s such a close to home subject for me that it was not hard to paint the picture of this dude is losing everything. And so, yeah, that’s really where it comes from, is a close relation to people who struggle with that very thing.

LT: I can completely relate. I lost my dad in November 2021 through to alcoholism.

CS: Oh, my God. I’m so sorry.

LT: When I heard the song and I had read the press release and I knew I would be needing tissues to listen to it, it hit hard. It’s an incredible song.

CS: And that’s what I worry about for them, that it’s just going to never stop and it’s going to go too far one day and be too late. It’s my biggest fear and it’s hard to write them off and draw the line, but it’s also important to do that.

There’s probably so many times you did the same thing, I bet, where you have to push them out until there’s change and there’s little glimpses of maybe they’re getting it together and then it’s just another letdown and that’s where we’ve been. I really have a hard time with it. I don’t do the best job at staying supportive, sometimes I feel like I can’t be that support. It’s a deceptive disease that they just cannot beat on their own.

LT: It’s got to be super hard for you considering all your family has already been through. I’d say this is your most personal song since Bronco. Why did you feel this needed to be heard now?

CS: It lined up just right. I had already been in the headspace that I had a handful of songs that felt like breakups or sad stories coming to an end. I had a pile of those kind of songs. So I kind of set out to do an EP that would be sad songs. And then I wrote that one. And when we wrote it, the timing of it was that just a few weeks prior, we had another episode in the family that we were on the emotional support side for their partner. Three weeks later, I wrote Diamond On The Dresser. I was like, okay, they need to hear this song, too. I love this song so much. There’s never a better time that hits closer to home than now. Whether it fits into the landscape of what’s going on with playlisting right now, or even with my plans for what’s next for me, is kind of irrelevant because the song is so good and so important.

Emily Weisband and Canaan Smith
Emily Weisband and Canaan Smith. Photo credit: Kurt Ozan

LT: With the way the song comes across it seems very fitting, it being your first duet as well featuring Emily Weisband, some of it is just so haunting, but it’s beautiful at the same time. If that’s what you were going for, you’ve nailed it.

CS: Thank you. Emily’s voice has such a magical tone. It’s heavenly. And when she added her parts, I was like, whoa, this is how it was supposed to be all along. But, damn, I felt lucky that she said yes and wanted to do it, but she had the same reaction. She’s such an honest songwriter herself, and when she got chills listening to the demo, I knew she was the right singer.

LT: It’s perfect. Like I mentioned earlier tissues were needed!

CS: If it meant that to you, that’s why I released it, because I wanted it to mean something to somebody that needed to hear it. I think a lot more people will resonate with that song than you think. It touches so many people, like that storyline. Almost no one goes through life without having been affected by alcoholism, addiction in some form that’s close to them. So, yeah, I think that there’s an opportunity for it to reach a lot of people on a different level.

Canaan Smith
Canaan Smith. Photo credit: Kurt Ozan

LT: With it being stripped back as well, people seem to resonate more when it is just you and a guitar. And I think it’s because the emotion in your voice comes across.

CS: I want to lean into that more. I feel that way when I perform live too, that the most impactful moments on stage, the most impactful moments of the night are always the ones where it’s just me and the guitar. So, yeah, I’m in full agreement with that, and I hope I can utilise that more in a way that would serve me well.

LT: I don’t know if anyone else has picked up on this. Down In Flames came out on the 3rd of the 3rd, Diamond On The Dresser came out on the 5th of the 5th

CS: Whoa. So have we got anything, coming on the 7th of the 7th? We better, right? That’s a great idea. I don’t know what the rules are with what day of the week to release songs, but if the 7th of the 7th falls on a Friday, that would be freaky. There’s zero intention in that pattern, you picked that up yourself, awesome.

LT: Ahh man, I had a couple more questions, but I’ve just been told this is the last one. You mentioned an EP of sad, heartbreak songs. Is that something we can look forward to in the future?

CS: I’m very fluid right now with plans because, I know that I’m evolving, and I know that my goals are changing over time. It’s more important to me to put the right song next each time. And a song at a time seems to be okay for me and my fans right now. So, I’m going to stay on that for a minute until I have an obvious clear path to what’s next. I’m just going to be looking for that next song. They’ll absolutely keep coming for sure!

LT: Once again, thanks for taking the time to speak to me, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next song!

CS: I really appreciate it. Big hugs your way, Liz.

Diamond On The Dresser is available to stream from all the usual channels. For more information about Canaan Smith and to keep up-to-date with his live dates, please visit Follow Canaan on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

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