I saw Canaan Smith supporting the Shires in York last week and his genuineness, personality and, most importantly, catchy country songs really grabbed my attention. Picking up his latest album, Bronco, at the merch stand was my best decision as it's eleven great country songs and though it's sub-35 minutes running time is quite short there's much to enjoy whilst your playing it, even if songs like 'Miranda Lambert Crazy', performed live, are sadly missing.
The album opens with the hooky pop-country number 'Good Kinda Bad' which is a high energy, foot-tapping start to the record. 'Stompin' Grounds' might relish its country song tropes but it's delivered with catchy hooks and a bouncy, upbeat positivity. Lead single 'Love You Like That', packed with similies is brilliant: catchy, poppy, hooky, a great track and one of the best on the piece.
'Hole in a Bottle' continues the bouncy, fun country numbers that mix high energy with Smith's likeable vocals and attitude. 'Stuck', a slightly slower power-ballad, is probably the best track on the record with some strong lyrics mixed with a great layered up production. 'One of Those' adopts the list style of some of the early tracks and mixes it up again into something equally as perky. 'Mad Love' is slower but no less catchy, whilst 'Love At First' has a mid-tempo swagger and instrumentation that offers something a little different.
Bringing us into the final three tracks 'American Muscle' is the rockiest song on the LP and another favourite, packed as it is full of energy. 'Two Lane Road' ticks the country music cliche box but with its soaring vocals and mid-tempo pace it's a neat little change of musical direction. The album finishes on the heart-wrenching titular track that is beautifully written and performed.
'Bronco' is an excellent LP of catchy, upbeat country-pop songs headed up by the strong vocals and likeability of the lead singer. A must listen. (8/10)