Granger Smith, and his alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr., can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.
In December, Smith, 37, tumbled off a monitor and the stage and into a metal barricade, still managing to finish his set, including his first No. 1 hit, “Backroad Song.” Following the concert in Brunswick, New Jersey, he checked into an emergency room, but soon landed into a trauma center after being diagnosed with two separated and broken ribs and a punctured, partially collapsed lung.
“I took a pretty hard spill last night in Jersey,” he told fans. “Thanks for the well wishes! Ya’ll mean the world to me. I’ll be out of the hospital and 100 percent soon.” True to his word, he returned to home to Texas to heal up.
But like a barbed wire fence mended after a fierce Texas storm, Smith is back on a straight line, and steady on the stage, bringing his spring tour across the country. He appeared Friday, April 21, at the Cargo Concert Hall in downtown Reno.
Smith’s latest album is “Remington,” released last spring. Perhaps it helps explain his healing power. The title track notes: “I’m one of a kind/ I’m tough as you can find/ (If a) son of a gun is what you’re after/ You’ve got you one/ I’m a Remington.”
Smith’s sidekick, the chaw chomping Earl Dibbles Jr., will join the show, perhaps imparting some “Country Boy Love,” a parody of country songs that idolize drinking beer and hitting the trail in a pickup truck. Savingcountrymusic.com sets the scene for the tune’s music video: “This thing has more pelvic thrusts than a troupe of Paul Abdul backup singers, and more cleavage than a rock quarry…”
A native Texan, Smith clearly likes to have a good old time. He taught himself to play guitar at age 14, citing two motivating factors: “I thought the guitar would make girls pay attention to me, and George Strait played one.”
As a teenager, he attended every George Strait concert within driving distance. By the time he started at Texas A&M University, Granger Smith already was performing in honky tonks that dot the Lone Star state. He interrupted college to head to Nashville and pursue a recording career, honing his skills as a singer/songwriter and steel-guitar player for other performers before eventually returning to school at College Station. He penned “We Bleed Maroon” in honor of his college days.
Smith’s career has soared during the past several years, and, with Dibbles Jr. ever at his side, he’s traded the stages at North Texas watering holes for larger venues across the nation. He has released eight studio albums, a live recording and two EPs. Last year, he performed at TJ’s Corral, the outdoor arena at Carson Valley Inn.
He played before a packed house last week at New Braunsfels, Texas, (“I’ve been coming here since I was a teenager”) and stops off at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento Thursday night before making his way over the hill to Reno. “Yee Yee Nation” is waiting like a dairy herd queuing up for milking time.