He's a touring troubadour who had an impressive following before he even had a record deal, packing shows across the country and selling more than 900,000 digital singles from his own, independent releases. And now, with the highly-anticipated release of his first label album, 'The Broken Record,' critics are finally cluing in on what fans have known for years: Corey Smith makes country music rock.

"My goal as a writer and artist is to be heard," says Corey, a former high school teacher. "With this new album release and another exciting year of touring, I'm reminded how far I've come and how far I've yet to go. I think of my family and friends, our community and the thousands of people across the country who've been in my corner over the years, cheering for me, believing in me and inspiring me; and I realize that music is more important than ever and that I am no longer content to use it as a means to only survive ... I desire to thrive."

'The Broken Record,' released today (June 21), features Corey's rapidly-rising debut single, 'Twenty-One,' a clever tune about reaching the legal drinking age. (Watch the video below.) The song has been a fan favorite at Corey's concerts for a while, making its newfound radio success all the more rewarding. And as for his older fans who may be now lamenting (or bragging) that they knew him "back when ... ," the musician is hoping they'll grow with him.

"If I start making decisions and making music just to please my fan base -- the ones who've been there for a while, then I'm doing what they're asking me not to: I'm selling out," Corey tells The Boot. "I'm just trying to make music that makes me happy. If I continue doing that, I can hopefully bring some new people to the music, too."

'The Broken Record' has 17 tracks, some new and some previously released back in Corey's indie artist days. Staying true to his musical roots, he blends country with rock, alt-rock and even a little blues, with lyrics that tell wildly personal tales.

"The Broken Record epitomizes where I am, both personally and professionally," he says. "It is my salute to continuity amidst the trumpets of change, reconciling the freedom and recklessness of my youth with the security and responsibility of the present."