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Country Singer Hit Rock Bottom After Losing His Child, But True Light Dispelled the Darkness

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Granger Smith has always loved music and writing songs, but this passion took on a whole new meaning for him when he was getting ready to record his 10th album in 2019.

“The vision for this music collection was just starting to come together. I had about six songs ready to record, and had booked a Nashville studio for June 5, 2019,” the born-and-bread Texan noted on his website.

Then the night before he was supposed to leave and head to the studio for his session, his precious 3-year-old son, River, passed away because of a drowning accident.

“Everything stopped. The album wasn’t just on hold, it didn’t even cross my mind,” he said.

Smith did his best to work through the loss on his own terms, along with his wife, Amber Bartlett, and their two remaining children at the time, London, 11, and Lincoln, 8. (In 2021, Smith and his wife were blessed with the birth of another child, Maverick.)

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He learned quickly that a person doesn’t just get over the death of a child. It’s a painful journey of healing.

“We went down a journey that I thought I could fix on my own with self-help and self-improvement and exercise and positivity and visualization, meditation and devotionals. I thought I could just mend, fix it and move on, and I couldn’t,” he told Fox News.

It wasn’t until after he hit “rock bottom” in that journey that he realized he needed to “surrender to God” and let the Holy Spirit be his comforter in the middle of a valley that was dark and black as a cloudy night sky, according to CBN News.

Once he “surrendered to God,” he found peace, hope and joy alongside of the grief he felt, even as he processed and worked through the grief.

In the midst of his healing journey, Smith began to see his music and lyrics to his songs in a new way, with new purpose.

He had been mourning for quite a while. Then on one particular day when he was visiting with his parents and sitting on their front porch, he was listening to a song he’d written earlier that year with Chris DeStefano, Bradley Rempel and Jon Nite.

It was the song “That’s Why I Love Dirt Roads,” which he had originally planned to record on June 5th — his son had passed away the night before.

“It started hitting me in a different way. It had taken on a new meaning,” his website notes.

He found himself reworking the bridge of the song, incorporating word pictures that illustrated that dirt roads are often beat up, broken, scattered and tossed in the breeze.

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Then came some fresh lyrics, “But no matter their scars, it doesn’t change what they are. That sounds a little like me.”

The song lyrics became an impassioned message that he felt compelled to share with audiences.  He was convinced that if it could help him along in his grief journey, that it would do the same for others.


The focus of being able to make a difference in people’s lives became the new purpose for why he created music and performed it.

Smith especially wants to encourage parents who have lost a child. He says it’s his faith that saved him, and it’s extremely important to cling to God when facing such a difficult and painful loss, and realize that, “nothing is an accident.”

“Once we know that, then we could stop saying ‘Why, God, why did you do this to me?’ ‘Why would a good God allow this to happen?’ Instead we could then say, ‘What God? What are you trying to show me in this? What do I need to learn from this? To be closer to you. To understand you better. To help serve others around me. What do I need to know?'”

Smith is also getting the opportunity to branch out into film. He will be featured in the movie “Moonrise,” which will be released on PureFlix on Dec. 15.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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