Music » Critics' Picks

Corey Smith

8 p.m. Friday, January 22. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard.



Corey Smith's career took off around 2007, when Internet buzz and the golden age of MySpace helped the independent country strummer gain a large and devoted fan base. But while many of his peers have been swallowed up by Nashville's current love affair with all things Deep South, Smith has remained his own man. The former high school teacher tours incessantly and crafts the gritty, charmingly dirty country music that his supporters have come to love and expect. Still, this image hasn't prevented Smith from progressing: His latest album, Keeping Up With the Joneses, finds him exploring a more stylized, studio-based sound, courtesy of producer Russ-T Cobb (Butch Walker, Avril Lavigne). Even though Smith came up in the rowdy college bar scene (on a Joneses track, he even waxes nostalgic about great keggers of yore), the album's title cut sounds more like an introspective assessment of his current life as a husband and father. It's more proof that when Smith keeps it simple and writes what he knows, people generally listen.

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