Granger Smith was on The Main a stage at tonight’s Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn. Every one of us who listens to country music is familiar with Granger. But if you’ve never been to his show, you are missing a lot. He hits the stage with the energy of Luke Bryan, has smile that will remind you of Dustin Lynch, a ball cap that looks good on him, the stage presence of any seasoned artist, and a personality shining brighter than any attraction on the midway. Musically, he is uniquely Granger. His voice is recognizable. When you hear a new Granger song, no one will need to tell you who is singing. You will just know.
He started his show with “Blue Collar Dollars”. The audience stood up. And I think they stayed standing throughout the entire show. We heard “Merica,” “Bury Me in Blue Jeans,”, “If the boot fits,” “Backroad Song,” Tailgate Town” and “5 Minutes More”. We heard a lot of the songs we knew from his CD’s, and we even got a Alan Jackson (I Don’t Even Know Your Name,” and Garth Brooks, “Rodeo”.
His band has as much energy as Granger has, making full use of the ramp which runs down through the center of the reserved seating area. Fans loved that Granger, and his band, took turns out on that runway, getting close to them, tossing guitar picks, and getting close enough to fans that everyone should have gone home with an album full of great pictures. The very talented musicians who make up that band are Dusty Saxton, drums; Todd Howard, lead guitar; John Martain, guitar; and Ethan Henley, bass. Ethan was filling in this evening for the regular bass player, Jonathan Wisinski, who was back home with his wife, who had just had a baby. Need to thank Jeremy, the merch guy, for providing those band members names.
Granger took his runway walking that extra step, by actually leaving the reserved seating area and heading up into the grandstand to sing close to those fans, take a few selfies, and mingle around before heading back to the stage. That was a great treat for those folks outside of the reserved seating area. He gave them all something that they are going to remember for a really long time.
Granger’s show was entertaining, enjoyable, his fans loved it. I am sure I am one of the very few who would have been happy if Granger stayed Granger for the entire performance. But, like everyone else, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. One glance through the audience told you quickly that more than a few people attending were Earl Dibbles Jr. fans. Those came dressed like Earl, carrying their signs, and they were ready to party. Most of you reading this know that the overall-clad, Remington carrying, flag waving, tobacco chewing guy we’re talking about is a character Granger portrays in his shows. The character, Earl Dibbles Jr.
Most of our Country’s Chatter readers know that I’ve been going to concerts for more than 60 years. Over the past nine years, you’ve all heard me talk about how much I worry about our country artists who seem to think you can’t have fun without alcohol. We’ve seen some get arrested, some in and out of rehab, and some are no longer with us, for various reasons. I hope for most of them, the alcohol is just a theme they stick with, because they think fans expect it. You know what I mean. It’s the image…. the reputation of country singers. But, this ‘theme’ has been around a long time, and I realize it’s probably going to be around pretty much forever. While drinking songs may be a part of country music, that is certainly not all of it. Since the alcohol bothers me, it shouldn’t surprise any of our readers that Earl Dibbles Jr. and his huge wad of dip at the end of the show tonight bothered me, a lot.
Anyone performing for an audience full of teens (and younger), really doesn’t need to give them the idea that dip is a good thing. Or that dip is fun. Or that it is just an acceptable part of country-living lifestyle. Or that they should run right out and try it. Artists have to remember that kids are very impressionable. (Yes, I’m a grandmother, this is how I think). One person pointed out that adults have the right to decide if they want to do dip or not. That’s true, adults do have that choice to make. And, it isn’t the adults I’m talking about.
Country music right now is NOT all about alcohol, drugs, divorce and pick up trucks. The top 10 songs this week are “Head Over Boots,” “Make You Miss Me,” “From the Ground Up,” “American Country Love Song,” “Peter Pan,” “Fix,” “Record Year,” “You Look Like I Need a Drink,” “Different for Girls,” and “She’s Got a Way With Words”. Look at that list. ONE song about alcohol in our current Top 10. So, to all those people out there who say that ALL country songs are about drinking, obviously, you are wrong. And, even if they were all about drinking – don’t you think maybe it’s time we change that.
As a whole, this was a good show. I really didn’t know what to expect going in. I knew a little about Earl (what I read on line). I knew more about Granger. I knew I liked his music. Now I know I like his show. As for Earl Dibbles Jr. I’m afraid the jury is still out on that one. Granger is one of those caring, considerate artists. He took the time to come out to the WXBQ tent before the show to do a brief on-air interview with local on-air personality, Marc Tragler. He held a pretty full Meet & Greet prior to the show. And, he came out to mingle with the crowd and sign autographs after the show as well. You don’t find a lot of that anymore. Hats off to Granger!
Going to close this with a few pictures from the show. those of you who didn’t go – you really did miss a great opportunity to see a very talented country singer/songwriter, and a great group of musicians, tonight at the Appalachian Fair.
In addition to his website, be sure to visit Granger’s Facebook page, and please remember to “Like” it while you are there. Head over to his Instagram to see the photos and videos he has to share with us there. If you can’t get enough of Granger’s videos, spend a little time on YouTube. He’s even got the lyric video for new one there. Follow him on Twitter @GrangerSmith. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.https://www.countryschatter.com/2016/08/east-tennessee-was-ready-for-granger-smith-at-the-appalachian-fair/FairsReviewSummer Fun5 Minutes More,appalachian fair,Backroad Song,Earl Dibbles Jr,facebook,Granger Smith,If the Boot Fits,Remington,Twitter