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David G. Smith believes in planting gardens.

They aren't necessary at his home in Blue Grass, but rather for a blooming career as a singer-songwriter.

Take his latest national exposure, when his song "Walk Away Clean" recently was used in the Lifetime cable TV docu-series "Chasing Nashville." 

It's a song Smith wrote about 10 years ago.

"There's a good example of a little lag time," he said. "You plant some seeds hoping anything will grow, and years later something sprouts up."

Smith releases his fourth album and his second studio CD, "One House," on Feb. 25. Although he has a CD-release show tentatively scheduled for May at the Redstone Room in the River Music Experience, downtown Davenport, he will play some of the songs in an opening gig Feb. 6 for Griffin House at the Redstone Room.

Half of the 10 tracks on the album were written entirely by Smith, and the other half are his collaborations with other writers.

The album is to be released on his own Hey Dave Music label.

"I'm wearing all the hats," he said. "It's DIY, a do-it-yourself world."

Smith did, however, have some big-name help in creating the album. Its producer is Blue Miller, a former Bob Seger guitarist who won a 2002 Grammy for India.Arie's breakout album, "Acoustic Soul." Miller was one of the studio musicians on the album, which included Australian guitarist Joe Robinson (who has played the Quad-Cities several times), the fiddle player for Vince Gill's sideline band, the Timejumpers, the steel guitar player for Tim McGraw's touring band and one of India.Arie's backup singers.

"All professional, all top shelf both as musicians and as human beings," Smith said.

He describes the album's music as a combination of folk, country, Americana, roots and "dirt funk." It's also lyric-intensive, best for a listening room or an intimate venue rather than a big concert hall.

Smith spends about three or four days a month in Nashville and is doing "business stuff" when he isn't recording. He's been performing and has worked as a host at the Bluebird Cafe, the famed Nashville songwriter showcase, since the mid-1990s.

His first album, "Non-Fiction," was released in late 2010, followed by a live EP recorded during his time as an opening act for Justin Townes Earle and a live album that included two of his brothers, plus a nephew.

Smith said there are differences and similarities between the two studio albums.

"The common thread is strong songs, just maintaining a quality of the music, quality of production," he said.

The title track of "One House," is a political and environmental song about "trying to find the highest road you can take," with Occupy Movement protesters on one side and Tea Party campaigners on the other.

"They're all yelling at the government and they all feel disenfranchised by the way they live," Smith said. "We all live on one planet, we've got one house to live in."

"Ivory" is another environmental song about harvesting the tusks of elephants. "Ariel" is named for a Davenport woman, Ariel Kean, who has Rett Syndrome, a degenerative tissue disorder that keeps her from communicating.

She gets a special thanks in the liner notes.

"Anybody who inspires a song, I'm indebted to," Smith said.

The Lifetime song is the latest of his tunes to be used on TV, including shows on the Travel Channel and the Fox network.

"The model used to be large sums of money coming in from two places, (radio airplay) and performance royalties," he said. "Now it's smaller money coming in from 350 different places to license a song."

Smith is also using his music to generate funds for charities, including Gilda's Club Quad-Cities and Boys Town.

"That's really the cornerstone, still. That hasn't changed," he said.

After seeing other singer-songwriters attempt to make a name for themselves in Nashville, Smith said he considers himself fortunate.

"I'm very lucky to do all of this, much less any of it," he said. "This is fun. This is what I'm here to do.

"I'm a lucky guy."

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