Review – Granger Smith’s “Backroad Song”

Granger Smith Backroad Song

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:

(Ooh-ooh-ooh)
Freedom is the miles I’m rollin’ on
(Ooh-ooh-ooh)
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
(Ooh-ooh-ooh)
(Ooh-ooh-ooh)

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.

Grade: 0/10

22 thoughts on “Review – Granger Smith’s “Backroad Song”

  1. Kevin Davis October 12, 2015 / 11:34 am

    “The pop/R&B/disco/Bruno Mars ripoff songs being passed off as country music is actually making bro country sound tolerable.”

    Ha, yes, I had the same impression over the last couple weeks in my car when the radio played “Cruise” and “Dirt Road Anthem” — heck, the latter even has noticeable steel guitar.

    Anyway, yes, this song is horrendous. “Freedom is the miles I’m rollin’ on.” Huh, how does that work? It reminds me of Tyler Farr’s line, “I bang my head against the moon.” Come again? What’s with these nonsensical, lame-ass attempts at being poetic? Nashville songwriters used to be clever at turning a phrase or re-imagining a common image; now they are barely even trying. This is poetry for an 8th grader’s homework assignment, in which case I would be far more forgiving. But these are professionals!

    Liked by 2 people

    • theknightswhosayni4 October 16, 2015 / 11:34 am

      Really?! Come on man. This is NOT bro country. Is it a lot more poppy than the stuff Granger’s been doing normally? Yeah. But it’s not bro country. Look up the lyrics. Not one mention of any alcoholic beverage, no tailgate, no Dixie cup. The only thing it says that could fit in that category is “backroad”. And I would argue that bro country does not evoke any emotion or imagery. This song DOES. How can you listen to that first verse and not picture a warm summer day driving with the windows down? Not every song has to be deep.

      Also, “freedom is the miles I’m rolling on” makes perfect sense. I don’t know about you, but there’s not much that feels more freeing than driving on a summers day, not in any hurry, with the windows rolled down, the radio turned up and my girl sitting next to me. That’s one of the best feelings for me, and a lot of other people. I completely understand where Granger’s coming from. It’s not nonsense like you seem to believe it is.

      In summary, this isn’t Granger Smith’s best song by any means, but it is one of the best songs on radio right now, and it is not in the least bit “bro country”. Not every song has to be a deep, depressing Jason Isbell ballad.

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      • southtexaspistolero October 17, 2015 / 11:15 am

        Not every song has to be deep.

        This is the second-most-worn out argument behind “country music must evolve.” It’s one that’s trotted out damn near every time yet another dumb party-in-the-country song comes out, and it’s bullshit. Not every song has to be a dumb party-in-the-country song either, but that’s sure as hell what we’re getting, and I for one am fucking sick and tired of it. It was worn out two years ago, and now it’s just rank and rotting.

        Not only that, but with this song and his career moves, Granger Smith is shitting on the entire Texas and Red Dirt country movement. We’re going to be pointing to Texas and Red Dirt as a better alternative to the Nashville crap and they’re going to point to Granger Smith and this stupid song and ask us what the hell is the difference between Texas and Nashville. It’s not fair and it’s not accurate, but perception is reality, and to be honest we have every right to expect better than crap like this stupid song out of Nashville in the first place, let alone Texas. Hell, the biggest reason Texas and Red Dirt music has gotten so damn big in the first place is because of the crap like this!

        (Sorry for the language, Josh & Derek. As a longtime Texas and Red Dirt music fan this sort of thing gets my goat at least as much as it does yours.)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lorenzo October 12, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    i agree, same old stupid bro song. but I’d give it 2/10 for not being as terrible as some other stuff on country radio.

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  3. southtexaspistolero October 12, 2015 / 12:46 pm

    Sigh. I am not surprised at this. From what I have heard of Granger Smith, he makes Josh Abbott sound like Jason Boland. And I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Between Smith and Earl Dibbles Jr., I still have yet to figure out who’s making fun of whom.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria October 12, 2015 / 1:34 pm

    Granger Smith, this is SO 2013. Get with the times, for Christ’s sake! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. petemarshall724 October 12, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    I heard this song twice and don’t care for it at all. Too bro-country for my taste. I will give it 1/10 for his effort to try to make it mainstream country.

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  6. RG October 13, 2015 / 10:27 am

    Agree, terrible and lazy songwriting. And Smith’s vocals are just incredibly weak. He never leaves his comfort zone, just constantly stays at the same pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Linda October 14, 2015 / 10:31 am

    Not good at all and they call it a song

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  8. theknightswhosayni4 October 15, 2015 / 11:32 pm

    I adamantly and completely disagree with this review. Is this Granger’s best work? No. But it is miles better than any bro country song. Granger is one of the best live acts I’ve seen and he puts his heart and soul into his music. This song may not be his best work, but it’s still loads better than a “0”. I’ve held my tongue on most of the reviews I disagree with (and lately it seems like you are dishing out “0”s and “worst songs” like candy to songs that are definitely better than 0s) but I can’t scroll past such a negative Granger Smith review. I’m disappointed in this one.

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  9. T October 23, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    Am I the only one that hears the striking resemblance to Joe Nichols’ song “Yeah”? When Smith’s song comes on, I always think we’re about to go right into “And I was like yeah, yeah, nodding right along to a song on the radio…”

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