Granger Smith

Granger Smith, who was named “Hottest New Act of 2016” by Taste of Country, will perform live at the Washington Town and Country Fair Thursday evening, Aug. 3, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on the main stage.

With a No. 1 single, “Backroad Song” and a new album, “Remington,” Smith has built a huge following.

Born and raised in Texas, Smith was 14 when he decided to teach himself to play guitar, according to a bio he posted to his website, By age 15, he was performing weekends on small town stages in North Texas.

By 19, he had written enough songs for an album, so while he was a freshman at Texas A&M, he raised some studio money by pre-selling the album to friends.

The album landed him a songwriting deal in Nashville, where he honed his songwriting skills, learned about the business, and performed both as a singer and steel guitar player for other singers.

Four years later he moved home to Texas to finish his degree and start a band. It felt like starting over, Smith writes in the bio.

Things moved slowly, but he was happy. Gradually things picked up, and his crowds began to grow. Using a camera and editing software for making homemade music videos, Smith got creative.

His brother Tyler joined him in 2008, helping him with promotion and branding. Using social media, they connected with fans and ignored their detractors.

Through videos, they created alter egos for Smith to help with promoting his music. That’s when Earl Dibbles Jr. stepped forward.

Dibbles has a weekly segment on CBS Sports Network’s “Inside College Football” and a fanatical social media following.

The alter ego started out as a joke in a video they made, but ended up changing Smith’s career, he writes in his bio. The video went viral and became a huge promotional tool for his music.

In April 2013, Smith’s album, “Dirt Road Driveway” was listed as No. 1 on the iTunes store. And on the road, Smith suddenly found himself playing to sold-out shows in markets he had never played and with fans who had a passion unlike anything he had seen.

After independently releasing seven studio albums, one live album and two EPs (extended plays), Smith signed his first record deal in 2015.

Just a few weeks later, Smith’s debut single “Backroad Song” was a hit on mainstream country radio, and on Feb. 14, 2016, it became the most played in America as it topped all the mainstream radio charts. One month later, Smith’s first national debut album, “Remington,” hit stores.