Payton Smith at Eddie’s Attic – June 3, 2021
Payton Smith Payton Smith is proof that it really pays to work hard, take risks and just find a little luck. When the singer, songwriter and self-taught guitarist got a place on one of the smaller stages at the CMA Fest in 2018, he decided to play as if he was headlining an arena and breaking through original songs like “92” and “Like I Knew” You would ”while delivering supercharged guitar solos. Scott Borchetta, the head of the Big Machine Label Group, happened to be out walking that afternoon and the performance stopped him in his footsteps. A few weeks later, after sharing a few demos with Borchetta, Payton answered the phone to find out that the label was offering him a recording deal. “I kept going and freaked out,” he says. Payton had every reason to celebrate: since he first saw Keith Urban at the CMA Awards 14 years ago, the Louisiana native Houma has dreamed of playing his own brand of country music, ranging from country and guitar 90s rock is influenced. The 20-year-old is as much a fan of Pearl Jam as Clint Black, whose face adorns the vintage t-shirts he often wears. He loves George Strait, but also John Mayer and is certain that his colleagues in the Spotify generation have just as different musical tastes. “I would love to attract new audiences to country music,” says Payton. “I want to bring rock fans, pop fans and John Mayer fans. Genre doesn’t matter – music is about connecting. People just want to relate to something and feel something like I did when I first met Keith Times on television. “Payton cites Urban, Eric Church and Luke Combs as his main country influences and respects everyone for the way they respect the traditions of the genre while advancing the music. Following this example, Payton co-wrote a collection of songs for his new self-titled EP, now available through Big Machine Records, that highlights his talents as a singer, writer, and nimble guitarist – he plays every guitar part on every track – just like his favorite slingers through the musical landscape. The project “Can’t Go Wrong With That” distills its country and rock influences into an infectious three-minute-and-change jam. Written with Thomas Archer and Jim McCormick, it’s an upbeat, guitar-centric song that pokes fun at the things people love to argue about: rivers versus lakes, Ford versus Chevy, Jim versus Jack. But as the choir recalls, there are a couple of issues we can all agree on, namely Willie Nelson on vinyl, Friday night football and cold beers, all of which are unimpeachable. “I’ve always been a fan of songs with lots of pictures, and that is exactly what ‘Can’t Go Wrong With That’ is about. It’s definitely rock and it was so much fun to play live,” says Payton. Payton worked with producer James Stroud and bonded with his Louisiana compatriot about their love for dive beats. Stroud is a drummer and Payton attacks his guitar with intensity, preferring rhythm over hypertechnical nuances. “I got my first guitar when I turned 10. My dad taught me three chords and I learned there was a lot more than that,” he says. “So I have people like Keith, Brad Paisley, John Mayer and Eddie Vedder studies. “With Payton is such a strong and varied debut that he might want to aim higher than the sea – this is a collection that calls for large crowds. “92” is a sultry piece of nostalgia for country music of the 90s. The Mayer-esque “What it meant to lose you” is an atmospheric heartbreaker where the narrator is to blame for a breakup. And “How I knew you’d do it” is built around a huge hook. “As a guitarist, I don’t always have to rock and chop it up. I like to develop melodic solos that you can sing along to,” he says . “‘How I knew you’d do it’ has one that is very long. It’s like creating another melody within the song.” That talent for melody coupled with its sharp but approachable lyric and His fluid guitar playing makes Payton the newest young voice to change Nashville. As he failed to make clear on that CMA Fest stage, a long time ago, he wasn’t afraid to move the envelope or look at things from a different perspective. It’s an attitude he’s had since he picked up his instrument almost 10 years ago. “I took guitar lessons for three months but I didn’t like them. The instructor said, ‘You know, if you play it like that, it sounds good.’ But I had my own way of playing that I taught myself. I said, ‘ Well, I can play it that way and it sounds good too, ‘”Payton recalls with a laugh.” Maybe I was stubborn back then, but at the end of the day I just have to be who I am. ” Payton Smith knows exactly who that is. Nashville superstars are also taking note. Chris Young taps Payton to open his TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH WORLD TOUR 2020.