One of the more interesting aspects I’ve learned about since starting this blog is the Texas/Red Dirt country scene. At first I viewed it with rose-colored glasses and couldn’t praise it enough. But then you learn more and dig a little deeper. You then realize that it’s really not much different from the mainstream/Nashville scene: there are genuine artists, but there is a lot of crap too and the politics are just as bad. Not to mention some artist hate getting the “Texas country” label. But this is a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down today. No, today let’s discuss an artist involved with both scenes: Granger Smith. He’s been a mainstay in the Texas scene for years, but now he’s moving on up to Nashville, as Broken Bow Records signed him to their label late in the summer. Not only is Smith signed, but his parody persona Earl Dibbles Jr. Personally, I’ve never been that intrigued to dig enough into the split personas of Smith. At least not until now with Smith’s current single “Backroad Song” slowly creeping up the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
“Backroad Song” right away gives off a bad smell with its title. It’s a dead giveaway what this song is about. Nothing like being blatant, eh? If this song was released by Dibbles, it would change the complexion and interpretation of it. But alas it’s under the serious Smith persona. Unfortunately there isn’t anything about it to really take seriously. This is a straight bro country song with all of the checklist items (written by Smith and Frank Rogers). You got a truck, a backroad, the radio and a girl by your side in this song. It’s the standard bro country starter kit. It should also be mentioned that the chorus for this song gets old really quick:
Freedom is the miles I’m rollin’ on
Out here cruising to a backroad song
I feel the wheels like a melody, like a radio dialing in strong
C’mon, c’mon sing along, sing along to my backroad song
You want to annoy this listener easily? Throw lots of ooh-ooh-oohs into your song over and over. It’s like someone constantly grinding their nails against a chalkboard. It’s pointless and grating to the ears. There are a total of 16 “ooh-ooh-oohs” throughout this song, so listen at your own risk. Despite this song being pretty terrible, I actually found myself thinking this isn’t that bad. You know why? Because the absolute worst in mainstream country music is so terrible right now that this song sounds decent in comparison. The pop/R&B/disco/Bruno Mars ripoff songs being passed off as country music is actually making bro country sound tolerable. Oy vey!
If Granger Smith was intending to sell out, he couldn’t have picked a better song in “Backroad Song.” It’s everything labels and advertisers want in a song: something that could be played in some Hershey’s ad and something a gullible teenage girl would want to hear. It’s fluffy, stupidly simple and has no meaning. This is the kind of song that sounds like it came straight off a conveyor belt in some songwriting factory in Nashville. Avoid “Backroad Song,” as there are plenty of country songs better that you can crank while driving down a backroad.