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Granger Smith

4x4 – 2015 (Thirty Tigers)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Granger Smith

Granger Smith may be new to some, but the Texas native is a seasoned veteran. The University of Texas grad has seven studio albums and a live one to his credit. Now he adds an EP, "4x4" to his discography. It is essentially an 18-minute country music state of the union with an unoriginal four-song collection of boilerplate redneck bro country. The opener "Backroad Song" is a catchy mandolin driven road anthem in the vein of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise."

Critically, Smith is a victim of his own success. Along the way, he created his alter ego and viral sensation, Earl Dibbles Jr.; The tobacco chewing, beer swilling, gun toting redneck glorifies every country music stereotype there is. Throughout, there are references to long necks, diamond plates and guns. The only song "Dibbles" is actually credited on is "City Boy Stuck." He takes a city boy to task after getting stuck in the mud. It somehow manages to be humorous while emitting a creepy "Deliverance" like backwoods vibe.

Smith was once dubbed a "hat act." He's wearing a camo cap on the cover. But like the material itself, it is difficult to discern if the photo represents the artist or his caricature. Granger Smith epitomizes the saying, "live by the sword, and die by the sword. Though "Dibbles" is only credited on the last song, the entire album feels like it is penned by him. Nevertheless, no matter who the author, this hokey effort is not very good.