Artist You Need to Know: Payton Smith

You know those opening acts or the artists who’s names you don’t recognize on some free stage at a country festival? We might forget about them by the next day, but don’t think that others aren’t paying attention.

Payton Smith was rocking out on a small stage at CMA Fest, when the head of Big Machine Label Group walked by. He saw a young talent doing his thing on stage, not worrying about what people might have thought. A week later Smith got a call, offering him a record deal. Life comes at you fast.

In an age where genre lines are blurred, Smith hopes that his audience will appreciate his style, which can range from classic country to rock. Smith’s self-titled EP may only consist of 4 songs, but we get a pretty good idea of what he can do. Starting with “92” an ode to the country music and lifestyle of the early 90’s, it’s not a far stretch for Smith who cites influences from George Strait and Clint Black, to Keith Urban and Eric Church. Smith keeps it simple and home town and easy with “Can’t Go Wrong With That” with lines like “football’s better under Friday night lights’ and “hard to beat anything but Willie on vinyl.”

Aside from his country influences, Smith has glimpses of John Mayer. “Like I Knew You Would” and “What It Meant To Lose You” are two of those songs that are difficult to fit in a genre. They have country sounding moments, but with some subtle rock undertones. They are songs which sound like something that could be found on Mayer or Urban’s next album.

If you are one of those country fans who can kick it with the old school, classic 90’s songs, but also love the new sound coming out of Nashville, with a touch of rock and pop, Payton Smith, at only 19 years old, is a voice you’re going to want to pay attention to.