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Canaan Smith unites local fans at Merced County Fair

Canaan Smith, country singer/songwriter, wowed the audience at the Merced County Fair on June 8.
Canaan Smith, country singer/songwriter, wowed the audience at the Merced County Fair on June 8.

At the Merced County Fair on June 8, Canaan Smith, 36, performed at the outdoor stage to a lively and enthusiastic crowd as part of the Free Table Mountain Concert Series presented by Coors Light.

Smith is a rising country singer/songwriter who has toured with famous country artists such as Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Kip Moore and Florida Georgia Line.

He co-wrote the Billboard #10-ranked country song, “Runaway,” for the band Love and Theft.

He is originally from Virginia, and moved to Nashville in pursuit of his singing career.

He debuted on the hit list with “We Got Us” in 2012, and later released an album, “Bronco”.

Another of his top hits is “Love You Like That” released in 2014, which begins with these lyrics:

“Hey girl, I’m just a small town run around,

I get my kicks out on the outskirts of town,

I could never do it like a pretty city boy,

I’m more a fishin’ in the dark nitty gritty boy.”

During the concert, Smith performed with his band members, who played guitar and drums.

He was congenial and affectionate with the audience, drinking a beer and toasting to “his people”, and sharing bits and pieces from his life.

The audience responded in kind, whistling and singing along with their favorite songs.

He exclaimed that Merced was the best crowd he had ever performed for.

He said, “It’s been a long road to where I am.”

Smith confided, “I don’t do music to satisfy myself.  I do it because music brings people together.”

When he talked about his brother, who he said is in Heaven and imagined is looking down on him, and about his friend who just lost a 3-year-old child, which he said “rattled” him, he sobbed, then apologized for the emotion and got on with the concert.

The audience was all ears, forming a crowd in front of the stage to get closer to the star, and many were dancing.

Smith said he is happily married.

He dedicated his song, “Like You That Way,” to his wife.

The lyrics describe her as “Miranda Lambert crazy” and “a little complicated.”

He wouldn’t change anything about her because he likes her that way.

Another song was a tribute to those in the military.

He sang, “Life Ain’t Fair,” explaining the perspective that he wanted to convey was to view life as a blessing.

To relive other moments from the Merced County Fair, readers can check out our coverage of the opening ceremonies that included a groundbreaking of a new shade structure, the Merced Speedway that packed the grandstands, the jr. livestock auctions and showmanship competitions that brought 4-H and FFA’s best and brightest together, the special needs Friends Helping Friends Day on Friday, or the S.T.E.M activities that UC Merced’s Mobile Maker Space brought to this year’s fair. Those interested in seeing the sights of the Merced County Fair again can check out our photo gallery post covering the attractions, rodeo, and more from this year’s fair.

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