A lifted truck lover’s paradise could be found in the parking lot of Freakster’s Roadhouse in Pontiac, IL on April 3, 2015. The popularized slogan “Yeeyee” written on several vehicle windows and country music blaring from eager tailgaters was a surefire sign that a Granger Smith concert was about to rock the night!
A short, acoustic set of older country songs including Jamey Johnson “In Color” by local artist Zach preceded the second opener, Cody Calkins Band. They saved the night, as the original opening band had to cancel due to unexpected circumstances. Cody Calkins Band hyped up the crowd with a few of their original songs, as well as covers of current top country radio hits, including “Keep Them Kisses Comin”, “Lonely Eyes”, and “Hell Of A Night”. Their engaging set had everyone passionately belting out the lyrics and dancing along.
— Tiera Joy (@TieraBolt) April 4, 2015
A foggy, smoke filled room roared with excitement as Granger Smith took the stage singing his hit single, “We Do It in a Field”. He then took time to thank everyone for coming out and snapped selfies with fans for a few minutes before continuing his set with a few songs off of his seventh album, Dirt Road Driveway. Granger played a beautiful keyboard interlude that led into the song “Miles and Mud Tires”, and his ability to play multiple instruments is likewise shared amongst his bandmates. They are each skilled in several instruments, and Granger allowed them to showcase their abilities throughout the concert. At one point, Geoffrey, the bass player, took a water bottle, poured it on top of a drum skin & began playing a drum solo on the catwalk, as the crowd raved about how multitalented the band is.
Bursts of thunder encompassed the room eluding to the Garth Brooks classic “The Thunder Rolls” and then sliding into another Garth hit, “Rodeo”, which were songs that influenced Granger Smith’s musicality growing up. Glimpses of that traditional country sound still infiltrate Granger’s songwriting today. One example is a song performed later in the set, called “Bury Me in Blue Jeans”. Smith requested that everyone light up the venue with their cellphones while he fervidly sang this tune inspired by his musical influences, family, and country roots. It was a moment that surely brought goosebumps to the listeners, and slowed things down in a way that allowed for a break without losing the propulsion that had been built.
Smith announced that May 4, 2015 marks the release date of his latest EP, titled, 4×4. He then played his brand new single off of that EP, “Backroad Song” and though it was only released a week prior, it seemed as if everyone in attendance knew the lyrics word for word. “I got the windows down, no one else around, singin, oooh, freedom is the miles I’m rollin on” rang out and the energy once again jolted up another notch. Lead guitarist, Todd, played the National Anthem while Granger and the remainder of his bandmates stood proudly together, hats off and hands over their hearts, observing the crowd mimicking their example. The excitement built intensely as fans shouted “yeeyee!” With passion in preparation for Granger’s highly anticipated altarego, Earl Dibbles Jr. to make his debut for the night.
With a climactic conclusion on himself as Granger Smith, he graciously thanked fans for spending their hard earned dollars at his concert, supporting his dream, and prepared everyone for the “real country” that they had paid for and expected to see. Without further adieu, he slipped offstage. Drummer Dusty Saxton leaped from behind his drum cage & reeled himself towards the crowd – by swinging from the ceiling rafters, drumsticks still in his pocket! the band kept the momentum hyped up while granger rapidly changed into his unmistakable altar-ego, the famous Earl Dibbles Jr.
White T-shirt, denim overalls, mouth full of dip (and a guitar with DIP spelled out in green duct tape on the back) Earl Dibbles Jr. strutted his way on stage, waving an American flag. The crowd went absolutely wild, welcoming the “redneck, white trash” star that is Mr. Earl Dibbles Jr. After parading around, giving the crowd exactly the redneck experience they anticipated, Earl performed “Country Boy Song” and closed out an absolutely astounding night, with a rifle in hand. “Yee yee”!
Though most country music concerts provide a euphoria that allows you to escape the stress and monotonous grind of everyday life, there are very few times I am left utterly speechless. This was one of those nights. From the time that Granger and his wildly energetic band took the stage, to the last autograph that he stayed to sign post-show, there was not a single dull moment. Check out full Granger Smith tour dates at GrangerSmith.com and be sure to catch a show as soon as he’s in your areas next! Share your pictures and favorite moments with us on Twitter, using Country Music’s #CMchat.