SINGLE REVIEW: Canaan Smith – ‘This Night Back’

Canaan Smith has been on the end of some rather undeserved criticism from certain individuals. The recent Saving Country Music article on Canaan’s ‘I Like You That Way’ labelled him “indistinguishable” and his music “formulaic”; a grossly unfair interpretation in my eyes following a single that we actually reviewed favourably. However, he certainly needs another hit song to shake off that ‘one hit wonder’ tag and to turn people’s heads back around to an artist who has so much to offer.

I’ve got immense respect for Canaan as an individual and for his artistry, and I’m sure many who saw his acoustic UK shows earlier this year will know where I’m coming from. There’s raw talent there that the masses may not appreciate from his down-the-middle radio releases until you see him live. He’s undeniably an incredibly accomplished performer who (radio hits or not) writes solid, instantly engaging songs.

‘This Night Back’ is Canaan’s latest release. Clearly ‘I Like You That Way’ didn’t have the desired impact on country radio so I’m sure Canaan and his team will be desperate for this one to break in the lead up to his next album release. I’ve got a good feeling about this one and have done ever since I heard it live. It’s got all the ingredients for a modern country hit; a signature infectious electric guitar riff throughout, a catchy sing-along chorus which goes down incredibly well live, and a melody that keeps spinning in your head once the track has finished.

“We be sippin’ like (hey), we be trippin’ like (woah)” – it provides the perfect opportunity for crowd participation at concerts and was a stand-out moment back in March. A room full of people who had never heard the track, and I would imagine many of them were singing it on the way home. Admittedly, the lyrics aren’t exactly Grammy-worthy (it’s not ‘Bronco’ standard), but that aspect certainly hasn’t halted Sam Hunt’s dominance this year. It’s a fun, current, radio-friendly party track that is categorically Canaan Smith and I’m sure it’ll be embraced by his loyal fans as well as the new discoverers.

Roll the windows down, turn it up loud and enjoy!

Dan Wharton (@LifeInASong_Dan)