Concert Review: Canaan Smith Shines at Nashville’s Exit/In

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Canaan Smith has been among the strongest breakout acts this year, earning himself his first #1 with “Love You Like That” and hitting the road with Dierks Bentley, Kip Moore, and Maddie & Tae on the Sounds of Summer Tour. Thursday night at Nashville’s Exit/In, Smith continued to prove himself more than worthy, delivering a engaging set to the sold out crowd.

Chris Bandi and Russell Dickerson opened the show for Smith, setting the tone for a high energy evening. Dickerson has recently been gaining attention with his sugary vocals on his current single, the romantic slow-dance “Yours.” Dickerson can also rap – the artist joined Smith late in his set for a cover of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” taking on Puff Daddy’s rap from the remix with ease.

As a performer, Smith is both high energy and personally connective, making for a show that feels fun without being substance-less. Smith led with current single “Hole in a Bottle” and kept the crowd dancing from there, through much of the songs from his debut album Bronco. Smith also performed his first single as an artist, “We Got Us,” which released in 2012.

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When Smith did pause for a more solemn moment, it was beautiful. Smith took to a post from within the crowd and played “Bronco,” the emotional title track he wrote about losing his brother to a car accident. Both on and off stage, Smith is humble and thoughtful, and his performance of one of his most personal songs felt like a friend sharing a somber moment.

Smith also played a few new songs, including one that he transitioned into a standout cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ classic hit “Iris.” Smith has a great voice, and it lent itself well to both the covers he included and his own songs through the impressive set. The Stomping Grounds Tour is a must-attend for a night of pure fun and artistic honesty.