As Granger Smith continues his Like a River Farewell Tour, the country music hitmaker finds himself interacting with fans with many differing opinions.

“I think some people are trying to not think about it,” Smith tells Taste of Country, alluding to the fact that after this tour, he will leave music entirely to pursue ministry. “Then there's another group of people that come in and say, ‘Praise God, this is amazing. This is such an inspiration.’”

But then, there is another group.

“There's a group that is so sad,” Smith says quietly. “They are like, ‘I hate this. Why are you doing this to me?’”

Smith says he is so very understanding of this group, as the “Backroad Song” hitmaker totally understands the multitude of emotions surrounding his decision. Heck, even his own kids have their own opinions about it.

“So, my two bigs, London and Lincoln, they are sad in a way,” Smith says from a backstage dressing room right outside of Chicago. “They're wanting to come as much as they can this year (on tour) once school's out. But I think they're excited at the same time.”

And then there is one-and-a-half-year-old Maverick, who was born just two years after the 2019 death of Smith’s son River.

“Maverick will never know a difference,” he says. “He'll never know Daddy as a country singer. He'll just look at pictures and go, ‘That was you?’”

The conversation about the career change has been one that has been going for a while now between Smith and wife Amber, as Smith admits that he had been contemplating announcing his decision at the end of 2022.

“I had just a few shows left (in 2022) and I thought it would be a clean break since we didn’t have any dates 'til about March of this year,” reflects Smith. “And Amber was like, ‘Babe, you can't do that to your fans.’ She said that I needed to warn them, so they had at least the opportunity to get a ticket to see the show one more time. And she was right.”

Smith says that while he believes it may take a bit of time for everyone to get used to his decision, it is the best one for all of them in the long run.

“I don't think there's a better example I could set for my family,” he concludes. “I don't think there's a better example, and for my kids to be 18 years old and say, ‘Dad had a lot going on and he gave it all up for God.”

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