Album Review: Granger Smith’s ‘When The Good Guys Win’

One of the most rewarding aspects of covering the country music format the past couple of years has been watching the career rise of Granger Smith. Long a favorite in his home state of Texas, the singer made his move toward a wider acceptance of his music with 2016’s Remington and the singles “Backroad Song” and “If The Boot Fits.” He returns to the retail fold with his ninth studio album, When The Good Guys Win – and second for Wheelhouse, an imprint of Broken Bow. If you loved the music of Remington, you will like what you hear on this disc, as Smith doesn’t veer too far off the course of his target sound.

The album was launched with the modern-day sound of “Happens Like That,” which was co-written in part by Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard. The track has quickly found favor with country radio, and there are plenty more that should be following suit. “Never Too Old” and “You’re In It” both sound like they were custom made for the airwaves, and “Gimme Something,” which opens the disc, has a vibe to it that makes it sound very much like a song that is going to set the tempo in Smith’s live show.

Granger Smith; Cover art courtesy NPG PR

Granger Smith; Cover art courtesy NPG PR

That being said, the stronger moments on this album come with the songs that are a little more organic in their approach. “Raise Up Your Glass” and “Everybody Lives” both have deep messages, with the former urging the listener to take pride in everyday triumphs, and the latter testifying just how important those “little” moments are. He also keeps that same simpler tone on cuts such as the heartfelt “Love Ain’t Blind,” and the poignancy of the well-written title cut. The impressive “’Home Cooked Meal,” which takes an oft-recorded about subject, and offers a new and interesting take on it.

Another highlight of the album is the twang-filled track ‘Reppin’ My Roots” where the singer shows fans that he hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. And, indeed Granger Smith hasn’t. Granted, there are a few moments, “Stutter” and “4 Wheel Drive” being the main two, where the singer sounds as if he’s still chasing a sound a little too much, as neither really showcase anything different for the singer or the format. But, his longtime fan base will likely eat those songs, and this album, up! They have ridden with him so far, and I have a feeling that their devotion is going to continue. And, judging by most of the music showcased on When The Good Guys Win, it sounds like that career climb is going to continue!