Corey Smith

While the Gettin' Is Good – 2015 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Corey Smith

There's a certain laid back vibe that colors in the lines of Corey Smith's latest release, making it the perfect record for summer. Featuring a heartfelt dose of Americana both musically and lyrically, Smith weaves a classic country tale of hometown heroes and family pride alongside more racy elements that tackle naughty women and drinking obsessions. Still, whether he's singing about his kind of woman or his father's heartfelt advice, Smith makes each and every one of these songs his own.

"Don't Mind" leads the album off in fine fashion with Smith's soulful vocals bright and sunny against a backdrop of warm fiddle and playful banjo and clarinet, reminiscent of a country-flavored Jason Mraz, while "Ain't Going Out Tonight" presents itself as a radio ready track with its kicking backbeat and solid songwriting that finds the singer declaring, "This chapter's coming to an end/To an end/But our story's just beginning."

Smith makes known what sort of lady he's going to stay in for on "My Kinda Lady," fueling the soundscape with some bold Hammond B3 organ fills and a rocking beat that totally accents the "leather and lace" lyric before giving way to the relaxed tones of "Feet Wet." "Taking the Edge Off" provides a counterpoint to those vibes, the world weary lyric showcasing Smith's solid vocals with it's near anthem flow while "Dahlonega" and "Pride" give props to his Georgia upbringing, both simmering with musical energy and an autobiographical lyric.

A lighthearted arrangement, complete with a hip-hop flow from Smith, doesn't rob "Drinkin' On My Mind" of its sting as it tackles the struggle of alcoholism while "The Baseball Song" is a classic country ballad, acoustic vibes carrying the track along while Smith tells a lyrical tale to remember those who helped him get to where he's at now. And with "Bend," the artist closes things out with another striking ballad, offering up hope and encouragement as he sings, "Life's just one long fight you can't win/Until you learn how to bend."

Smith delivers a perfect one-two punch of strong musicianship backed by an equally potent dose of songwriting on this excellent soundtrack for summer.