Noah Smith Releases the Feel Good Tune “Way Back”

Donna Block
6 min readDec 10, 2023

From Cincinnati, Ohio. Exploring the endless trails of woods and still waters of Brown County. Turning cereal bowls into drum sets. At age 12 picking up your friend’s hand-me-down 1970s Telecaster led to a love of the sounds of an acoustic guitar. Endless hours of garage band practices. Your music has been influenced by Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and Alan Jackson. How have their careers shaped yours?

I will admit I am more of an observer of other artists than a fan of a genre. I know sometimes that’s not a “cool” thing to say but I just have always loved the process of it all. I came up in a time of music that was so heavily influenced by so much already I feel like my taste and flavor of what excited me runs the spectrum pretty drastically. I never idolized or imitated but as I have matured as a musician and a writer I sometimes wish I would have. It wasn’t cool to be like anyone else so I just wanted to be me for a long time. I was a little punk rock stubborn about that at times and now think it would have also been cool to be a John Mayer dork like so many of my friends.

Graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in Electronic Media, Music Production and Audio & Video Design. Your lyrics evolve from your childhood faith, ambition, love, God’s good work and the uphill climb of living your dream. Which class was your favorite in college and why?

To be clear…physics of sound was awesome but also horrible. Outside of audio and video production I always enjoyed theatre lighting. Something about climbing around in the rafters was cool to me.

Marketing and PR courses were always intriguing to me as well because at the end of the day just like songwriting it’s all about telling a story.

Monthly songwriters showcase, Noah Smith’s Crooner Circus, has connected you with more than 300 songwriters. How do songwriters showcases help new artists develop their craft?

New or old songwriters grow in those rooms. Crooner Circus is a special place because Cincinnati doesn’t have a round in every room 7 nights out of the week, but regardless writers’ rounds are kind of a great equalizer to all the other industry noise. It’s all about the songs in those rooms. No smoke and pyro or stage show. It’s just the writer a guitar a mic and some hopefully decent ideas to share with the world.

“Our small steps are someone else’s big dreams.” What does this quote mean to you? Gratitude above everything. Every time I hear that quote it reminds me to be grateful for everything on my journey.

While I may love to see more people standing in a club listening to my songs in Chicago on a Thursday night it’s good for me to remember that there is someone who just wanted to join a band in high school.

It keeps my perspective start that even though it’s a grind I am blessed to be able to make a living playing songs for people.

National opening act for Ashley McBryde, Chris Janson, Aaron Lewis, The Steve Miller Band, and Joe Diffie. You play a Taylor Guitar 714. What makes this your guitar of choice?

It was the one out of about twelve I picked up and it just felt right. It’s perfect for my live show because it’s a tank at this point and has the battle scars to prove it.

I sold an old Honda Civic I had sitting the driveway for it and the rest is history. I like something I can pick up and it does the job for me. In the studio I can get creative with different sounds and guitars but on the road I need a work horse. Thats my Taylor 714 tried and true.

Odense, playing with the Founder of Nashville Nights Denmark Blue Foley and Taryn Papa. You’ll be returning next year — the festival is Sept 13–15, 2024 in Odense (with the tour from May 9 to June 1, 2024 all over Denmark). What is it like bringing Music City tunes to crowds overseas?

They are all in immediately every single time. Theres so much less of what we do over there that it is truly magical to be in those rooms.

They don’t stick artists and songwriters in every corner of every bar, pizza joint, or church basement. They have music venues and theaters and people show up to celebrate it!

I cannot wait to go back.

‘Someone’s gonna walk down the aisle to this bad boy.’ “Way Back,” co-written with Brock Butler, Matthew Douglas Simpson, Lexy Dunn, and Jason Kane. “Each stream is not just a number; it’s a heartbeat, a shared moment, and a step in this amazing journey we’re on together.” How have fans influenced the music you create?

Literally I wrote “Way Back” because my fans who support me on challenged me to write some love songs. So, I set out to start writing a few and “Way Back” was the first to stick.

“It took me years to understand what it felt like to truly love somebody. For a long time, I didn’t even understand what true love was. Isn’t it funny how when you meet a person your whole world can change in one simple moment? Now that I know what that feeling is, I pray that I never forget it. The day we wrote “Way Back” I knew that it was a song that could remind generations of people what true love is.” What other song also tells the stories of people in true love that would make your “Way Back” playlist?

Kandice walked down the aisle to Box Car Racer’s “There Is.” That was like chapter 1 to “Way Backs” chapter 7 hahaha.

What’s ahead in 2024?

I want to get back out on the road and play shows and meet fans like never before.

That’s where my focus is currently. The road is where we have built most of my following and I just believe that we need to be in the rooms to really grow this thing.

That’s where we shine. I am always writing and we have been piling up some great tunes to share and release as well. Way Back is setting the pace for a great year.