Review: Granger Smith throws it down with '4x4'
Granger Smith

Texas sharpshooter Granger Smith doubles down on the country-isms on his brand new 4x4 EP, buoyed by the plucky first single "Backroad Song." As mandolin and guitar are laced together with a contemporary gloss, he lets his voice sit just beneath the arrangement—allowing his raw vocal to resonant and blend nicely with the sweeping production. Even when he sings about "turnin' it up" (as on the next entry "Tonight"), there's a cool charm about his presentation that isn't forced but quite endearing. He unwinds his voice like a smooth tap of ice cold beer, as it foams and floats in a chilled glass (of down-home red dirt).

"Tailgate Town" is the more emotional piece to Smith's modern puzzle, cutting a story of authentic fabric and what it feels like to live in a small town. The underpinnings, too, are far more acoustic and folk-driven than the other three cuts, furthering his sonic reach. While thumpin' pop-country tracks are nice for blistering summer nights and roadtrips down the coast, Smith shines the best when all that falls away, and he simply delivers a rooted story.

Of course, a Granger Smith-helmed project wouldn't be the same without an appearance from his alter-ego Earl Dibbles Jr.—the Skoal-spitting character comes out in full force on the set's rock-soaked closer "City Boy Stuck." Possessing all the wit and syrupy sweetness you can pack in only four minutes, the foot-stomping, tire-spinning anthem sinks into his back pocket of well-worn redneck tropes that glorify small-town living and party-hardy notions. While it isn't his best mix of humor and stylistic music that he's done ("The Country Boy" is his best work), it does give fans a nice enjoyable treat.

Must-Listen Tracks: "Tailgate Town," "Backroad Song"

Grade: 3/5

Grab a copy of Granger Smith's brand new 4x4 EP on iTunes now!