Alt-Country ‘Party in a Song’ Corey Smith in Fayetteville Friday, LR Saturday [Sept 15-16]

With 10 albums (5 of which neared the top of multiple U.S. Billboard charts) now under his belt, Corey Smith brings his popular, unpretentious Americana act with country, rock, and blues influences to Fayetteville and Little Rock this weekend. Tickets are still available online for Friday’s performance at George’s Majestic Lounge (8:30 pm start time) and to Saturday’s show at Little Rock’s Revolution Music Room (8 pm start time). Both shows are ages 18+.

Noah Guthrie is shown here in character on the set of the TV show “Glee.”

Opening both nights will be Americana/soul singer/songwriter Noah Guthrie, who first found fame covering chart-topping hits – earning national attention with his bluesy version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” with over 25 million video views (scroll down to watch it!) – as well as through his pivotal role as Roderick Meeks on the hit TV show “Glee.”

Since winning a songwriting contest and releasing his first album, “Undertones,” in 2003, Corey Smith has been soaring underneath the radar of the major labels by nursing a loyal fan base all over the country, fans who appreciate his back-to-basics honesty in both his music and his lyrics.

His most recent 12-track release, “While the Gettin’ Is Good,” was written entirely by Smith. As such, it’s a deeply personal album, one that explores themes of love, hometown pride and even personal discovery. Still, the album stands as the Georgia native’s most upbeat. Especially on the nostalgic “Pride,” a bouncing look back at Corey’s high school days, from pep rallies to game day. His children attend the same school he did, he says, and together they often attend high-school football games, where the one-time social studies teacher sees friendly faces from his past.

Smith’s latest album, released on Sugar Hill Records, marks the first time that the singer-songwriter – a wildly popular touring artist who has produced all of his past efforts – has turned over the reins to a bona fide country music producer, Keith Stegall (who has produced such radio heavyweights as Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band). The result is Smith’s most ambitious record yet, as well as a return on the investment made by the fans who have supported him since his first album in 2003.

Smith has earned no shortage of accolades as a singer, songwriter, and alt-country showman; his supporting band is not bad either: this guy and his friends know how to “Party” – which, incidentally, is one of his most popular live songs.

You also might hear Smith sing that “The Lord Works In a Strange Way,” and in the next song he might be howling about his favorite bottle of whiskey, or he might be sing-song-telling-off the law in typical redneck-rebel style.

His accessible-to-the-average-Joe songwriting combined with his status as a “party-in-a-song phenom” is what has taken him so far, and it’s largely due to an early and continuing extraordinary Internet presence.

John Jeter of popular live music venue The Handlebar in Greenville, S.C., describes a Corey Smith show like this:

“Corey is what might happen if you threw Jimmy Buffett, Robert Earl Keen, Donkey (from ‘Shrek’), Bob Schneider and a few shots of whiskey into a blender, poured it into one of those 64-ounce traveling mugs that might last long enough to get you to the state line on the most insane road trip of your life (we’re not promoting drinking and driving here) – and you’re listening to Corey’s music the whole way. Sing-a-long. Off-kilter. Edgy. Honest. Real as a paper cut. Funny as a fart in church.”

Here’s opener Noah Guthrie and his Internet sensation video and solo musical debut: