Corey Smith is a performer at odds with his own message. “I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be a raging alcoholic,” said the singer somewhere around the midway point of his sold-out two-hour show Saturday at the Sinclair, by way of introducing yet another song about drinking. But while Smith’s words and the toothy grin with which he delivered them bespeak partying, his music and flat demeanor were too subdued to back them up.
That’s not to say that Smith was his own dour buzzkill. He brought an easygoing good humor to his songs, which were boilerplate singer-songwriter fare but driven by country themes of regret, partying hard, and seeking wisdom in the mundane realities of life. But he lacked the crucial country virtue of irony. That’s tricky enough with something like “Flip-Flop” (where he compared himself with footwear), but it sank the self-mythologizing rap of “Chattanooga.”