by John Tarpley
The Photoshopped picture on the cover of his new single, "Twenty One," may show him with an intimidating cue-ball head, biker beard, Oakleys and a scowl, but the music inside is pure corn-fed college quad mush. Think one part Jack Johnson and one part leftover Xanga poetry. It is literally the whitest music I've ever heard in my life. But it's clicking.
Smith, who's played Little Rock more than a dozen times, has amassed a devoted fanbase without label support, instead touring relentlessly and relying on word-of-mouth. It's a strategy that's put him in the pages of Country Weekly and launched his last album, "Keeping up with the Joneses," to the top of iTunes' singer/songwriter charts.
He's supported by Matt Stillwell, a positivity and good-times and patriotism and sunshine singer whose debut single, "Shine," is a neutered ode to White Lightning that Popcorn Sutton would probably mute with a quickness. And with a bullet.
Check it out: "Carolina" (live in Washington, D.C.)