Release Parties


“Smoky Mountains” Album Release Party

Friday January 26, 2024

@ Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

What Conner Smith had started trekking this past November in Athens, GA when he kicked off his highly praised Creek Will Rise tour, culminated on a milestone night in front of a sold-out crowd at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl with the official release party for his debut album Smoky Mountains.

Lined up for several hours before the venue had even officially opened, his exuberant fans were bubbling with excitement and beamed with hometown pride, adorned in their Conner Smith t-shirts and trucker caps with several also representing the “Big Orange” in a visual reflection of how Smith’s own admiration for the Tennessee Vols has transcended to his fans.

When the lights darkened the venue just minutes after 9PM, a bottled-up eruption radiated as Smith hit the stage, travelling due East on interstate 40 to the “Smoky Mountains” as the slick harmonies laced the atmosphere before giving way to the barn burning, two stepping rhythm that immediately had the crowd bopping along as Conner commanded the stage, right to left and left to right, meeting the enthusiasm of his adoring fanbase head on.

Rolling into “Orange and White” instantly ignited a rousing sing along with the decisively UT toned crowd as many surfed their arms through the air, bouncing them in perfect rhythm while popping their hips in tune with the songs danceable beat.

And it’s a great day to be alive,” he and the crowd harmonized through the familiarity of the feel-good Travis Tritt anthem, masterfully which he utilized as the segue to the anathematic “College Town,” surrounding the crowd with an irresistible catchiness that kept everyone’s unbridled excitement on high as they danced and screamed along.

“Nashville…It feels good to be home,” Conner exclaimed with an appreciative pause. “I really can’t begin to tell you what tonight means to me; to sell out the Brooklyn Bowl tonight, the same day my debut album releases,” he smiled as the crowd lifted a supportive cheer.

“The last five years I’ve spent working on this record and it’s finally out into the world and we got to come back home and see this many people out singing these songs… I’m so grateful,” he humbly told as the vibey, muddy drive of “Heatin’ Up” held everyone in the pocket of its groove, which he seamlessly strung together with the equally as vibey “Baby I,” mimicking the back-to-back layout of the two tracks on the album as the drums popped the beat and the lead guitar dripped with infectious licks while Smith impressively soared his crisp vocal down the middle to add an addictive smoothness to the edge.

Both “How It Looks From Here” and “Didn’t Go Too Far” opened his heartbroken journal as he spotlighted the craftiness of his lyrical phrasing to tug heartstrings, before drawing a lighter in the air moment when he crooned passionately atop the soft, waltz infused melody of “Roulette On My Heart,” during what was the live debut of a song he said to be one of his very favorites on the album.

Building off the energy of the crowd and the vibe of each of these three softer tempos led to him turning a personal dairy page with “Meanwhile In Carolina,” earning an aww moment when he traced the individual stories that led he and his fiancé to finding each other, as all the in love couples across the crowd pulled in closely for a lost in this moment, slow dance snapshot.

“By the end of the night y’all will get to know me a little bit better,” Smith shared. “I fell in love with country music really early, when I was 6 years old. I fell in love with the idea that you could say more in three and a half minutes of a country song than you could ever say in a conversation; that you could change your life by telling a story with three chords. Ever since I’ve been 6 years old it’s been my greatest dream just to tell stories and write country songs,” he transparently told as he showcased his earliest songwriting roots with the fan favorite that he confessed as being the only song that made it out of his high school era, “Somewhere In A Small Town,”

In a showing of genuine appreciation for their guidance and belief in him, he kicked off the second half of his set by covering his recent tourmates with Luke Bryan’s “Rain Is A Good Thing” and Thomas Rhett’s “Get You Some Of That,” providing an only in Nashville moment when he was joined on the former by another of the hottest emerging talents on the country music scene today, Dylan Marlowe.

Within only its first couple of notes, the crowd reached a deafening level as they continued chorusing Smith from the first word to the last on “Take It Slow,” during which he allowed them their first chance to stand solely in the bright spotlight when he pulled back from the microphone into the final chorus, letting them handle it all on their own while he offered a gratitude laced, “Nashville…we love y’all so much!”

Intriguingly transporting the venue to his high school living room, he invited us to sit alongside him and his high school best friend, their two acoustic guitars, and the story of how they dreamed together of one day getting to this moment that they’re in right now, living the dream.

The two-some opened this extremely intimate, memory induced three-song set with “Talladega” and “In Color,” before flipping open their high school yearbook with the nostalgically painted “Boots In The Bleachers,” a song which earned a cheer when he dedicated it to anyone in the house from his nearby alma mater, Brentwood Academy.

Just as with “Take It Slow,” as soon as the tag line “I Hate Alabama” pushed through the static of the PA speakers the crowd immediately drowned out Smith’s vocals with those of their own, empathetically feeling the heartbreak of each passing word as they passionately pumped the hook of the viral hit, “I hate Alabama cause that’s where I lost you.”

“Since tonight’s so special, do y’all care to sing that chorus one more time?” asked a clearly overwhelmed Conner Smith as he basked in the moment, soaking in just the voices with his eyes closed as they showered him with his requested additional chorus.

Moving us metaphorically a mile southeast to the neon bathed Lower Broadway, The Brooklyn Bowl instantly turned into a rowdy honky-tonk as clapping and boot stomping permeated the wooden floor though the unhinged excitement of “Dixieland Delight,” which provided fusion into set closer “Creek Will Rise” as Smith stamped a confident exclamation point with his current, hot-rising single to leave a lasting impression with picture perfect proof as to why he’s being hailed by so many as the next big thing!

This night was naturally geared toward celebration mode for his debut album, and there were certainly plenty of those songs to go around throughout his set. However, Smith also very endearingly took the entire crowd on a full-blown tour of his life in country music, laying out the map dot, road map for the many dreamers in the crowd.

Through his hour and fifteen-minutes he embodied the many outlets and avenues that one weaves through as a songwriter/artist, from honoring his mentors to taking us to his cover song days of dreaming around the bonfire, drifting down to the honky-tonks on Broadway, and celebrating each steppingstone moment that would continually raise him up until he reached this stage for an incredible, bucket list checkmark.

“When it's all said and done this will be a night I'll never forget. I promise you that! Nashville, thank y’all for showing up for a hometown kid. I Love y’all so much!” - - Conner Smith.

1) Smoky Mountains
2) Orange And White
3) It's A Great Day To Be Alive/College Town
4) Heatin’ Up
5) Baby I
6) How It Looks From Here
7) Didn’t Go Too Far
8) Roulette On My Heart
9)  Meanwhile In Carolina
10) Somewhere In A Small Town
11) Rain Is A Good Thing (Luke Bryan cover)
12) Get Me Some Of That (Thomas Rhett cover)
13) Take It Slow
14) Talladega (Eric Church cover)
15) In Color (Jamey Johnson cover)
16) Boots In The Bleachers
17) I Hate Alabama
18) Dixieland Delight (Alabama cover)
19) Creek Will Rise




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