The road to success has been a long one for Granger Smith but it looks like his hard work is finally starting to pay off. Signed to a record deal at the age of 19, Granger has been self-releasing albums since 1998. With 7 albums already under his belt, Granger signed a record deal with Broken Bow Records imprint Wheelhouse Records in 2015. Arriving three years after his last album Dirt Road Driveway, Granger’s first album for his new label home is Remington.
Released a few weeks ago, Remington has capitalised on the momentum of number 1 single Backroad Song. That song has been a major breakthrough for Granger and it’s not that hard to see why. It has an irresistible melody with Granger’s distinctive vocal leaving a lasting impression and a chorus that is designed to lodge in your head so you keep singing long after the song has finished. Backroad Song may not stray far from the tried and tested radio-friendly formula but there’s no denying that it’s a great song to launch the record with.
For much of Remington Granger mixes elements of bro-country with a radio-friendly sound that should give the record longevity. Like Sam Hunt and Flordia-Georgia-Line, Granger incorporates other genres in his music such as hip-hop on the catchy Tonight and rock on Blue Collar Dollars. Rising star Brooke Eden stops by for backing vocals on the highlight Crazy as Me.
Granger comes into his own on the album’s softer songs. Title track Remington shows a more soulful side to his vocal ability and Tractor is a beautiful ballad where you can hear every ounce of passion Granger oozing from the song.
The last three songs on the record offer a welcome change of pace as Granger’s alter-ego Earl Dibbles Jr comes to the fore. The songs are rockier, edgier and down and dirty contrasting starkly with the rest of the record. Country Boy Love is my favourite of the three with its thudding beat and dirty guitars. As Earl, Granger showcases a harder edge that actually really suits him.
There are a couple of criticisms that can be levelled at Remington. At times the record feels a little bit safe, although when Granger assumes his alter-ego Earl Dibbles Jr things start to get a bit rougher. It’s also a little bit overlong and could have dropped a couple of songs to make it that bit tighter. It’s not unusual for a record have a bit of filler on but at 15 tracks, Remington is a little on the long side.
Remington is a solid effort from Granger and one that will set him up for more success in the future. I hope for his next record he takes some more chances and that he lets Earl takeover a little more. He has a fantastic voice and is a gifted songwriter so the only way is up from here. Remington may not reinvent the wheel but it’s a damn enjoyable listen.
Track Listing: 1. Backroad Song 2. Tonight 3. Remington 4. If the Boot Fits 5. Tailgate Town 6. Blue Collar Dollars 7. Crazy As Me (featuring Brooke Eden) 8. Likin’ Love Songs 9. Tractor 10. Echo 11. Around the Sun 12. 5 More Minutes 13. Country Boy Love 14. City Boy Stuck 15. ‘Merica Record Label: Wheelhouse Records Release Date: 4th March 2016