Holding a cold beer amidst a sea of boots, cowboy hats, polos and t-shirts sported by music lovers young and old, it was apparent to me that the artist stepping onto the stage has an appeal that spans a broad demographic. It was a theory that I had held for several years, but now it had been proven without a doubt in my mind to be fact. Dubbed Athens Rock, Corey Smith skillfully blends country, blues and rock & roll elements and molds them into something that most artist only strive for: a sound that is one-hundred percent genuine and one-hundred percent entertaining.
Even as stage hands prepared for the set the crowd was electric with anticipation. Big enough to carry the air of a much larger venue and small enough so that you don't lose that feeling of intimacy with the performers, Iroquois Park Amphitheater was the Goldilocks zone for the presentation. Despite the large crowd and Corey's steadily growing following, from the beginning he found a way to both be humble and connect with fans on a personal level. He started by thanking Louisville for the constant support, and promising to stay true to the music and keep his prices affordable. From that point on it was all about the music!
From the time the first chord was struck the audience was roaring and never let up. Corey's masterfully woven lyrics driven by his soulful down-home voice kept the audience on their feet and rocking the whole night. A smattering of both old and new hits erupted from the stage satisfying both longtime devotees and new followers alike. Rocking out “Twenty-one” and “If I Could Do It Again” which feel like chapters ripped word for word from the story of my and probably the vast majority of those in attendance lives, and newer favorites from his latest album, The Broken Record. Every song was a relatable tale told by Corey and the music. Though I feel like his latest record is overproduced, I was glad to see that his live performance was still gritty and true to his roots.
Corey's performance was as to be expected, but to be noted was how well his band supported. Each professional rocking out and clearly not only enjoying the environment and fans here in Louisville, but also genuinely loving the music they were playing!
Women, boozin’, mistakes and lessons learned. Corey Smith’s ability to connect to an audience with his relatable lyrics, catchy melodies, and contagious energy is what keeps Louisvillians coming back to his show year after year. This year was no disappointment. Corey’s stage presence coupled with the enthusiasm of the crowd made for the atmosphere of a much larger venue at the intimate Iroquois Park Amphitheater. His following keeps getting bigger and bigger. He is clearly an artist on the rise who I look forward to being around for quite some time!
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