Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Quickly rising Nashville singer-songwriter Conner Smith is part of a new generation of young country artists reviving more traditional elements of the genre, like narrative songwriting and a return to acoustic instrumentation. The opening track of his debut full-length record is a lively encapsulation of this ethos, with bluegrass-tinged harmonies and quick-fire picking. Smith still leaves plenty of room for pop and rock influences, though, as on the brooding “Take It Slow” and the viral hit “I Hate Alabama,” a clever and catchy song that turns the cult of SEC football into a fresh take on heartbreak. Another highlight is the tender Hailey Whitters duet “Roulette on the Heart,” a coming-together with another of the genre’s more creative young stylists.

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