Country fans from Texas, Nashville, and beyond are sending prayers and thoughts to the family of country artist Granger Smith after he revealed on Thursday (6-6) that his 3-year-old son River Kelly Smith had died in an accident. Saving Country Music has been able to confirm that River Kelly Smith died in a drowning accident.
Granger Smith, also known as Earl Dibbles Jr., suffered a tragic stage fall Friday evening (12-2) at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, N.J. while standing on a stage monitor during the mostly acoustic performance. Smith suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung in the incident, but miraculously got back up stage after the fall to finish the concert.
The comment from Granger Smith came in a recent interview involving multiple reporters that was posted on The Boot Wednesday (7-13). Granger’s words were smoldering for numerous days until it spilled over Saturday, with Texas artist Wade Bowen and others taking exception to Granger’s comments publicly.
But what’s the fun of getting to the top when you’ve compromised everything to get there? Despite some declaring the #1 for “Backroad Song” as a victory for Texas country, it is anything but. It was Granger’s abandonment of Texas country and the values of that scene, and walking away from the decent songwriting evidenced earlier in his career that finally got him the commercial success he has clearly craved.
And so continued on the unrelenting march of terrible songs in 2015. This year included some especially diabolical turns that puts the last 12 months in contention for the worst run for songs in country music history. Of course the usual suspects appear on the rap sheet like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Sam Hunt. But 2015 ushered in the worst year for watching previously heralded artists turning their coats from blue to red.
Alabama, Bret Michaels, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Danielle Bradbery, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, Granger Smith, Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Sam Hunt, Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Thomas Rhett, Ucle Ezra Ray, Zac Brown Band
Granger’s incredibly generic and pandering new single “Backroad Song” has just been sent to mainstream country radio proper. And with a big Nashville label behind it now, the single has become the 2nd most added song to country radio stations in the last two consecutive weeks, and is about to get yet another power boost of infinite proportions.
One of the funniest moments of the “Country Boy Song” video was when Earl Dibbles comes up on a couple of pastel-wearing “city boys” stuck on the side of the road in an imported compact sedan. It was so funny the first time and was mentioned in the lyrics of “Country Boy Song,” why not elaborate on it? That’s what Earl Dibbles Jr. does on “City Boy Stuck.”
I can remember it almost like it was yesterday. Granger Smith released a hilarious song and video under his pseudonym Earl Dibbles Jr. called “Country Boy Song,” and we were all falling over each other and high-fiving at how it was the perfect illustration of just what a scourge laundry list country songs had become. This was the early in the summer of 2012. The term “Bro-Country” was over a year from being coined.
As for the music, the Red Fest lineup was built on good intentions. Big names like Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Kellie Pickler, and Lynyrd Skynyrd were billed alongside lesser-known bands from the local and national landscape like Hellbound Glory, The Whiskey Sisters, and Bri Bagwell. Instead of segregating independent and mainstream music, integrating it.
Bri Bagwell, Colt Ford, Earl Dibbles Jr., Florida Georgia Line, Granger Smith, Hellbound Glory, Imagine Dragons, Jeff Foxworthy, Kellie Pickler, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Parmalee, Red Fest, Review, Sundy Best, The Derailers, The Whiskey Sisters, Tim McGraw
A little under a year ago, Earl Dibbles Jr., the alter ego of Texas country music star Granger Smith, released a song and video called “The Country Boy Song” that had us all in stitches. Then in mid-October of 2012, Granger Smith released the single “We Do It In A Field” from his new album just released today called Dirt Road Driveway, and all of a sudden we had to re-write what we thought about Granger Smith.
Granger Smith channels all true country fans’ worst enemy in the character Earl Dibbles Jr. for the new video and song “The Country Boy Song”, exposing the moronic, stereotypical, rehashed, and creatively-vacant world of corporate country’s checklist culture. This is what country music needs. To fight fire with fire.