Granger Smith - Country Things, Vol. 1
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Country Things, Vol. 1 (Wheelhouse, 2020)

Granger Smith

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Fearing that the 16 songs that made up "Country Things" would get lost on a single album, Granger Smith opted for an opus. Volume 1 begins with the title track; co-written by Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. It begins with simple fiddle and a laundry list of G-rated country things. There is no mention of alcohol, women or pickups. He refreshingly opts for rope swings, corner stores and other pieces of Americana. It has the feeling of being inspired by the pandemic with its focus on the simple aspects of and what's really important in life. But hold on. Only a few tracks later he makes the country cliches a zero-sum game with the tepid but fun, "Chevys, Hemis, Yotas and Fords." It has a cool bluegrass guitar lick. But if he wanted to cut down the track list to release this effort as a single album, this is the song that should be cut.

Sonically, there is ample traditional instrumentation for a purist, though Smith clearly leans to the contemporary side. Those fans will get their moment on "Hate You Like I Love You." It sounds like Taylor Swift should have a credit on it. It's got an upbeat banjo melody that sounds like the beginning of "Love Story." "I Kill Spiders" is where a parent rids the child's room of the scary arachnoids. It feels incredibly personal and feels like a healing anthem by painting Smith's role as a father as a protector to cope with the tragic death of his son in a drowning accident in 2019.

The songs have the feel of introspection and became about "appreciating the gratefulness in the day without being overweighed by the worries of tomorrow." It is an admirable goal given what he has been through and you can feel the sincerity in the collection.

CDs by Granger Smith

Country Things, Vol. 1, 2020 When the Good Guys Win, 2017 Remington, 2016 4x4, 2015 Dirt Road Driveway, 2013

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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