Preview: Caitlyn Smith The Great Pretender Tour

You may not know Caitlyn Smith (yet), but you certainly know her work. Smith co-wrote Meghan Trainor’s Billboard #1 hit “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” Her songs have also been recorded by country music royalty like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and Garth Brooks, to name a few. Her songwriting skills are well established in Nashville, but now her powerhouse voice is getting the attention it deserves. The Academy of Country Music (ACM) recently nominated her for New Female Artist of the Year.  

Smith is touring in support of her recently released record High & Low, which includes a stop at  The State Room on September 9, 2023. Salt Lake audiences get a rare opportunity to see this rising star in an intimate listening room before she pops for Jumbotron arenas.

Her latest 14-song country-informed adult pop album offers us a meditation through darkness and light. The first half, High, is an eight-song teaser released last year and features the title track she wrote with Miley Cyrus who recorded it as a single in 2020. Smith’s soaring vocals take the 2022 version to new heights. In 2023, she added six more songs, with a dash of melancholy to complete the album, High & Low. The end result is a solid record from start to finish. She takes us on an emotional journey with “Alaska” where the fires of passion run cold,  “Cause baby, your heart’s in another place.” In “Mississippi,” returning home, when she crosses the river to Minnesota, she feels a forlorn anticipation like seeing a lost lover. She asks “Mississippi, do you ever miss me? It’s been a while, but you’re always on my mind. Sometimes it hits me like a burning whiskey.” 

Even though the ACM recognized her as a “new” artist, Smith has been writing songs and recording albums in Nashville for a decade.  She has three full-length albums to her credit and she’s written a string of hits for other artists (both country and pop). Categorically, she fits loosely in the “country” box, but she can also sing like a contemporary torch singer with songs like “Cheap Date” or “Lately.” 

Smith has earned her stripes by writing for and touring with country music legends. She’s spent the last few years opening for George Strait and Reba McEntire and playing big arenas and festivals with Strait, Dierks Bentley, and Little Big Town between dates on her solo tour. 

Smith’s in the midst of her breakout moment and blazing her own trail. Her songcraft and powerful voice transcends any genre-restrictive label. I can’t wait to see her headline a stripped-down acoustic show during The Great Pretender Tour at The State Room on Sept. 9. 

Opening is Brandon Ratcliff. Born into the American roots music tradition, his mother, aunt, uncle and grandfather were members of the Grammy winning bluegrass band The Cox Family.  Raised in Cotton Valley, Louisiana, Radcliff made his way to Nashville to make his own mark on Music Row. Signed by Monument Records, Ratcliff debuted in 2019 with his single “Rules of Breaking Up.” He chronicles his move from small town Louisiana to the country music metropolis of Nashville in his 2023 full-length coming-of-age album Tale of Two Towns

It’s our chance to see the stars of tomorrow, today.

Who: Caitlyn Smith w/ Brandon Ratcliff

What: The Great Pretender Tour

Where: The State Room

When: Saturday, September 9, 2023

Tickets and info:

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John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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