All-around “good guy” and Wheelhouse Records recording artist, Granger Smith, is back for more with his second LP release under BBR, and ninth studio album overall, entitled, When The Good Guys Win. Granger’s strenuous tour schedule matches some of the top-booked artists in the country music business, and he made it a point to bring that into this record by writing on the road whether it was in the back of the bus parked outside of a county fair or a massive arena while on tour with Luke Bryan, and even recording most of the album from his home in Texas. The album thoroughly proves that it really IS better when the good guys win.
If you’re a long-time fan of Granger Smith, before he was signed to Wheelhouse and cutting records independently, you will be relieved to know that this album is every authentic piece of Granger that you know and love. Produced by Granger Smith, Derek Wells, and Frank Rogers, even the tracks that Smith didn’t have a hand in writing are hand-picked to remain true to his signature sound.
1. “Gimme Something” – Jared Mullins, Jordan Schmidt, Justin Wilson
2. “You’re In It” – Frank Rogers, Justin Adams, Mark Nesler
3. “Raise Up Your Glass” – Frank Rogers, Matt Alderman, Ty Graham
4. “Happens Like That” – Granger Smith, Justin Wilson, Jordan Schmidt, Andy Albert, Tyler Hubbard
5. “Still Holds Up” – Granger Smith, Justin Wilson, Jordan Schmidt, Andy Albert
6. “When The Good Guys Win” – Deric Ruttan, Jonathan Singleton, Ben Hayslip
7. “Everybody Lives” – Tommy Cecil, Seth Ennis, Jay Brunswick, Jaida Dreyer
8. “Stutter” – Granger Smith, Justin Wilson, Jordan Schmidt, Andy Albert
9. “Never Too Old” – Granger Smith, Justin Wilson, Jordan Schmidt, Andy Albert
10. “Love Ain’t Blind” – Granger Smith, Justin Wilson, Jamie Paulin
11. “4 Wheel Drive” – Granger Smith, Frank Rogers, Mike Fiorentino
12. “Reppin’ My Roots” – Granger Smith, Jordan Schmidt, Josh Mirenda, Jaron Boyer
13.”Don’t Tread On Me” (ft. Earl Dibbles Jr.) – Earl Dibbles Jr, Austin Outlaw, Chris Gainz
14. “Home Cooked Meal” – Granger Smith, Frank Rogers
The flow of the album is geared towards easy listening with tracks like “Everybody Lives” and “Raise Up Your Glass” but don’t let that distract you from zoning in on each song and listening to the individual stories that are more lyrically complex than they seem upon first listen. Many parts of this record feel reminiscent of 90’s and early 2000’s country music with songs like “Still Holds Up” which melds with a contemporary beat and brings home the continued theme of love and genuine character. The only thing I would have done differently is list “When The Good Guys Win” as the closing track of this album as it is an anthem for authenticity, shouting “hooray” when the good guys finally win. In this case, Granger, a bona fide “good guy” definitely wins. The closing track, “Home Cooked Meal” offers a new take on the position that day-to-day life moves awfully quick, commenting that it’s a “fast-food world, dying for a home cooked meal.” It’s presented with a musical vibe that doesn’t get much attention but deserves to, and it closes the album on a note of simplicity.
Radio hit alert. With the debut single, “Happens Like That” currently finding steady radio chart success, I additionally see hit song potential akin to the success of “Backroad Song” in songs such as “You’re In It” which expresses the idea of “I don’t know what the future holds all I know is girl you’re in it” strung to a sweet, upbeat tempo. As well as the catchy tunes, “You’re Never Too Old” and “Gimme Something.”
The only “disappointment” and I say that lightly as I don’t necessarily see it as a negative point, is that “Tread On Me” featuring Granger’s redneck alter ego, Earl Dibbles Jr. sounds heavy on Smith and features less of good ol’ Earl. It seems that over the years there is more of a blurred line between Granger and Earl, but it’s working for him as he’s now appealing to the masses.
One of the stand-out tracks, “Reppin’ My Roots” declares Granger Smith’s commitment to keep reppin’ where he came from. Staying true to that, Granger is a class act who will never forget his roots or the fans that were there for him since day one. That’s why he decided to reward fans, both new and old, for purchasing When The Good Guys Win. To show his appreciation, he’s been steadfastly calling the first 15,000 fans to purchase his album just to personally say, “thank you.”
Granger Smith’s unparalleled ability to crank out hits while remaining true to himself and relentlessly giving the fans what they want is a recipe for continued success and longevity in the country music world.