By Aaron Wagner
Man, it sure is great to have Granger Smith back making new music.
As one of the most creative artists from a marketing and ideas standpoint, on top of singing down home country songs, Granger Smith has built a large and passionate fanbase.
He’s different than a majority of other country artists. While most artists move and live in Nashville, Granger has stayed in Texas with his family. I think that has done wonders for his music as he truly lives out the music he makes. He’s so believable with everything he releases and that’s the case with this new album Country Things, Vol. 1.
He kicks off the album with the title track as “Country Things” has him singing about the small-town, country life he adores. It’s an uptempo that isn’t over the top with a ton of energy, rather think of it like that Sunday drive down the backroads listening to the radio, laughing, and enjoying every moment.
“Hate You Like I Love You” is one of my favorite tracks on the album as he sings about those feelings of wanting to move on and get over someone. It’s not so easy. One of the songs you may recognize is “That’s Why I Love Dirt Roads.” This was the first song Granger released last year after the tragic death of his son River and similar to “Country Things”, it’s an uptempo that doesn’t overpower you.
Things get hot and steamy on “Mexico” as the song has him comparing the intimacy of love with the the seductiveness that is the beach in a way that Kenny Chesney has made a career out of. What makes Granger special is he can pivot 180 from “Mexico” to a backwoods anthem in “Chevys, Hemis, Yotas, & Fords” and you can get the gist just off the title alone.
As I mentioned earlier, what sets Granger apart is he is truly believable and transparent about who he is. When people say God, country, and family, they’re describing Granger and “I Kill Spiders” is a song that will pull at the heartstrings of parents all around. It’s that much better because it’s coming from him.
“Heroes” is a song that Granger had partial lyrics for from years prior, but impacted by the nurses and medical professionals who helped their son River last year and reminded of them this year during the pandemic, led Granger to finish the song and cut it on this album. It’s a beautiful tribute to the everyday heroes that are so important.
He wraps up the album with a collaboration with his alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr. “Country & Ya Know It” it’s a humorous spin on “If You’re Happy and You Know It” but it just works. There’s no other way to say it. If you’re a Granger fan and like the Dibbles Jr. schtick you’re going to get a kick out of this song.
By living life authentically and being true to himself, Granger has done the same with these collection of songs that come across as believable leading to an all around great album.