What A Difference A Year and 4 Months Make

By kncitom on February 1, 2023
Photo: Tom Mailey/KNCI

Just this week we got word Paradise native Nate Smith has reached the top of Billboard’s country chart with his debut single, “Whiskey On You”. Reaching #1 is hard enough. To do it with a debut single? That puts him in rare company, with artists like Brooks and Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley. 

His debut album comes out February 17th.

So it’s wild to think that it was just a year ago last September that Nate volunteered to perform a private concert for victims of the Caldor Fire at Green Valley church outside of Placerville. In fact, when asked, he didn’t hesitate. Because he could intimately relate.

See, at the time, he was still a couple months away from the release of “Whiskey On You”, and scheduled to play a show in Roseville, based largely on the regional popularity of a song he’d written after he lost everything in the terrible Camp Fire of 2018. Called One of These Days, (which you can hear, here), the song was picked up by several media outlets. We played it. We even had him come into our studio, all clean-shaven, to perform it (see below). 

(photo: Tom Mailey/KNCI)

In fact, One of These Days was good enough-and shared enough- that it got him noticed in Nashville. With nothing lose, Nate headed east, where, long story short, he signed with a major label and has since been touted as one of the most promising of country music’s newest crop of artists. It wasn’t, but he made it look easy. He is the epitome of “bet on yourself”, even if that bet came when he had nothing left to lose.

Those fire victims? He was one of them.

We’ve been lucky enough to watch several local artists rise to national prominence: Jon Pardi, Devin Dawson, Tyler Rich. But we’ve only known one other artist before they hit it big- who we had first row seats to watch their rise up the charts. That was Kevin Sharp. Who, by the way, also saw his debut single, Nobody Knows, reach #1.

Rare company, indeed.

Congrats Nate!

And for fun, here’s an interview with Nate from before his performance that night at Green Valley Church where he talks about the year ahead. 




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