Conner Smith — Didn’t Go Too Far (The Valory Music Co.)

Six of the best from country music’s next big thing?

We’ll take that.

That Conner Smith Didn’t Go Too Far when dropping his hotly anticipated debut is a source of some frustration.

And who knows why six didn’t become 10 to create a complete studio album.

Timing? Perhaps.

A lack of quality material? Unlikely.

You see Smith has catchy modern country coursing through his veins and there must be plenty more where this came from.

Essentially a glorified EP, Didn’t Go Too Far does a job at a time when Smith’s reputation is soaring.

The Nashville native has already landed on Artists To Watch 2022: The Pandora Ten list.

Better than that he muscled his way onto this year’s Rushonrock Hot List!

So it makes complete sense to release something — anything — that’s capable of keeping the pot boiling.

Don’t for one minute, though, imagine Didn’t Go Too Far is nothing more than a hastily thrown together stop gap.

Tracks like College Town and Learn From It are already cool-as-fuck country music favourites.

And fans who caught Smith on the road with Thomas Rhett last year will be more than familiar with the singer songwriter’s very best work.

Didn’t Go Too Far? In January 2022 it’s probably far enough for an emerging artist with the world at his feet.

Learn From It? Conner Smith’s an A-star country music student

Viral hit I Hate Alabama squeezes in second from last on Smith’s first studio collection.

But it’s an absolute belter.

Leaning heavily on established Music City tropes and Southern rock swagger, it’s little wonder the tune took Smith to a dizzying new level.

But current single Learn From It underpins the potential of country music’s new kid on the block and kicks his burgeoning reputation a few blocks forward.

The delightful Daniel Ross co-write reveals an inherent vulnerability at the heart of this beaming upstart’s songwriting craft.

And Smith’s ability to fuse the formulaic with the spontaneous and the rough with the smooth suggests a future fanbase in the millions.

Set closer Somewhere In A Small Town almost feels like the filler in a six-song collection that’s predominantly killer.

But even here Smith controls the clichés and kicks back on any toe-curling country cheese.

The kid’s been writing and recording since the age of nine and so it’s no surprise he treads an assured line between tradition and evolution.

Didn’t Go Too Far should guarantee Smith both greater recognition and a truck load more confidence.

Learn From It? We’re sure he will.

Enjoyed our review of Conner Smith’s new record? Check out our list of the Best Country Albums Of 2021.