When first hitting “play” on Granger Smith’s major label debut album “Remington,” the refreshing sound of his voice is instantly noticeable – and the rest of the album is no exception. Produced entirely by Smith and Frank Rogers, “Remington” proves to listeners just how well the rising star is fitting in the country music world.
The album kicks off with Smith’s recent No. 1 hit “Backroad Song,” warmly welcoming the listener to the project. Smith takes the listener along for the ride with lyrics like “Freedom is the miles I’m rolling on” and “I feel the wheels like a melody,”as he asks us to sing along to his “Backroad song,” making you want to do just that. It’s the type of song that inspires you to hop in the car with the windows rolled down and drive out to the countryside on a warm sunny day. It exemplifies a modern country song that manages to stay true to the genre’s roots with its simplicity. “Tonight” keeps the feel-good theme going, with Smith bringing us along as he and his pals are “going full throttle, tipping back bottles” at their country-style party.
The vibe slows down a bit on the title track “Remington,” a song that represents those who are tough on the outside, but soft and kind-hearted at the core. As Smith croons “I’m one of a kind, tough as you can find…I’ll fit in the palm of your hand, I’m a Remington,” you almost wish you were the person he’s singing about. The clever “If the Boot Fits” is a modern day take on the classic Cinderella tale – with a backwood twist of course. Rather than a glass slipper, Smith tells his “one of a kind find” that she’s the one he’ll fall for, but only if the boot fits.
But perhaps the standout track on the album comes in the form of the heartfelt “Tractor,” a song Smith revealed to us at his album listening party last month to have special meaning for him, as he wrote it about his father. As the sole write of the song, Smith opens “Tractor” with an inviting melody where he puts the listener in his shoes, as he watches his father put on his muddy boots and head out on his beloved tractor. One can feel the emotion and regret that Smith emits as he tells his father he’s too busy for such a chore, as life is taking him“far and wide.” But it’s up on this tractor that Smith’s father learns “what’s important, what really does matter,” allowing him to appreciate the slow pace of life that comes when taking care of his land. Smith’s sweet vocals and sincere tribute to the man who raised him are weaved throughout the song and help carry his message throughout.
“Echo” chronicles the story of a girl who keeps coming in and out of the narrator’s life, the kind that makes him “feel her like an echo,” an unexplainable connection that he’s drawn to. Smith’s appreciation for the simpler side of life is represented again on “Around the Sun,” bringing with it a message that many of us can relate to. Carried by a simple melody, Smith brings to light the craziness of life and while it continues to move at rapid speed, he wants nothing more than to wind down from the hectic atmosphere. “All I ever want is to go slow” the singer begs, longing only to “listen to wind in the trees, sun on my shoulders, sometimes that’s all I need.”
And let’s not forget about Smith’s comedic alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr., who does in fact makes an appearance on the album in the backwoods, four-wheel driven bonus tracks “Country Boy Love” and “City Boy Stuck,” demonstrating a bit of a grittier sound, along with Earl’s passion for his country boy lifestyle.
Overall, fans of Smith’s will undoubtedly love “Remington,” as it showcases his strengths as a vocalist and songwriter, and those hearing him for the first time will be just as impressed as well. Smith has carved a niche for himself in the country genre by establishing a modern sound while still staying true to its roots. Smith has a talent for establishing engaging melodies on each song that have a way of putting the listener at ease, creating the type of album you want to play on repeat with the top down on a warm spring day, cruising down the countryside or as you go for a Sunday drive, which are elements in life that are universally beloved – something that Smith himself is bound for.