Country music singer Granger Smith turned to faith during darkest times: ‘It saved my life’

Country music artist Granger Smith shares that faith

Granger Smith has been leaning into his faith over the last several years.

The country music artist, 43, spoke with Fox News Digital about his acting debut in the upcoming film “Moonrise” in which he portrays a widowed, country singer navigating life after the loss of his wife.

“I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s a really good story. I really like the story,’” Smith explained. “I didn’t think about how difficult it would be to memorize the entire script and to go through that month-long, rigorous journey of filming this feature-length movie, but I really enjoyed it.” 

Granger also has an album that shares its name with the film, which was released last month. Every track on the album will be featured in the film. He has released 11 albums, and his first No. 1 hit was “Backroad Song” in 2016.


Country singer Granger Smith will make his acting debut in “Moonrise.”

“I guess there were more similarities between being a musician and being an actor then there were, you know, discrepancies,” he explained. “So, the thing that kind of really glued it together was just the passion to tell a story because that’s what, as a musician, as a songwriter, as a performer, we really just want to tell a story three minutes at a time and tell it with passion and with drama and with energy. That’s what we do as musicians and really as an actor. It wasn’t that different. That’s the same thing. We’re just using different tools, different creative tools to accomplish that.”

Smith said the entire production team was very helpful to him as he learned how to be an actor, but the film’s director was especially helpful throughout the filming process.

“The director was literally talking to me about scenes a month before we even started filming. She came over to my house, and she said, ‘I want to talk to you about your head space, where your character is going to be in this moment.’ And so we would have dialog back and forth about that,” he shared.

“Moonrise” also features Piper Clurman, Sonya Balmores, Kace Winfield, Jaxon Noble Pickens, Houston Rhines, Rose Bianco and Wally Welch. The movie is available on Pure Flix Dec. 15.

Aside from his recent venture into acting, Granger has stayed committed to his country music career. He revealed to Fox News Digital that he first got inspiration from George Strait.


“I’m a Texan, and he’s a Texan. And when I was a teenager, I latched on early to his music and started going to his concerts,” Smith said. “I thought, ‘I just want to be part of this circus. Either if I’m a bus driver or a truck driver or a lighting guy or security guard, I just want to be in this traveling thing.'”

Smith said at the beginning of his career he was just eager to get on stage and perform for a venue full of fans. Now, getting up on stage to sing and play his guitar has a deeper meaning for him.

Granger Smith plays a widowed country singer in “Moonrise,” which releases Dec. 15.
(Pure Flix)

“When we started realizing as a band that we could play to the individuals instead of playing to the full crowd, think about finding the individuals, finding the eye contact with the one person that needs to hear something, that needs to feel something tonight,” he said. “You know it when you see them. You could see it in their eyes that they came here for this reason, and you could just lock eyes with them like no one else is in the room but just us. Then I leave the show and I go, ‘Hey, it mattered today. Today actually mattered, and I’m ready for tomorrow.’”

Granger and his wife, Amber Bartlett, wed in 2010. The couple share three children: London, 11, Lincoln, 8, and Maverick, 1.

The couple lost their son River, 3, in a drowning in 2019. Smith shared that faith “saved” his life during that dark time.

“Well, it saved my life, essentially,” he said of his faith. “From the darkest of grief.

“My wife and I lost our little boy. River was 3 years old, and 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 it, fix it and move on, and I couldn’t.”

Smith shared that his pain continued to get worse until he “surrendered to God,” and that is when he found peace, hope and joy simultaneously with the grief.

He detailed the final day of his son’s life and what led up to the tragic drowning accident. 

“He drowned at our home, in our home pool, and I was there,” he recalled. 

Granger Smith leaned into his faith after the death of his son, River, in 2019.
(Gabe Ginsberg)

“I was 15 feet away from this. I was doing gymnastics with my daughter, and River was playing water gun fight with our son, Lincoln. And somehow he got into our gated locked pool. Within seconds, right behind me while I was doing gymnastics with our daughter, he was in the pool and had inhaled water. Became unconscious. When I pulled him out, I didn’t know CPR, besides what I had seen in the movies, and we lived out in the country.

“So, it took paramedics 10 minutes to get there. That’s too long to go without oxygen to his little brain, and it ended up being irreversible,” Smith recalled. “The damage to his brain ended up killing him the next day. The months and years following were that were rock bottom for me.”

Amber Bartlett and singer-songwriter Granger Smith tragically lost their three-year-old son, River, in an accidental drowning at their home in 2019.
(Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

He shared that he and his family were in therapy. 

“We [were] trying to find the answer to why these dark days were upon us and what it all meant. Why would God allow this?” he asked himself.


Granger and Amber welcomed their son Maverick in 2021. The country musician shared that his son Maverick would have “never existed” if it wasn’t for their tragic loss of their son, River.

“Not that he could ever replace River, that’s not the point. He never would have, but it is very interesting that he’s a life that existed because another doesn’t. That stuff that just tangles up my brain if I even try to think about it,” he shared.

Smith encouraged parents going through a similar situation to lean into God during the dark times and know 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’s acting debut in “Moonrise” will be available for streaming on Dec. 15 through Pure Flix’s website.