“Tiki Bar on the Beach” by Jarod Grubb
The best acts to have ever come through Nashville have been those whose start came somewhere else, far outside of the city we’ve come to know as the capital of country music. Montana born and raised singer/songwriter Jarod Grubb isn’t a southern boy; hell, he’s more of a ballplayer than he is a conventional cowboy, but the harmonies he introduces the world to in his new single “Tiki Bar on the Beach” are going to have listeners around the world reaching for a cold Corona and some rays on the nearest patch of sand this summer. In the tradition of Jimmy Buffett, Grubb is breaking off some of the best and brightest new sounds in laid-back country in 2021, and if you want a good sample of his personality, this is the song to start with.
“Tiki Bar on the Beach” is built upon harmonies that are more or less an extension of the lyrics they’re designed to frame, and although they’re more prolific because of the crisp production quality, they don’t sound gilded exclusively because of the top shelf polish. Something tells me Grubb would make this track sound just as inviting and relentlessly soothing were he playing it solo on an acoustic guitar right in front of us as he would in a studio setting like this one, and it just so happens that he’s working with a squeaky clean setup for this release. Both artist and audience benefit from the precision, and it shows how meticulous a player he can be when given the right tools.
These strings absolutely glisten beside the lead vocal Grubb puts up at the forefront of the mix, and I think it’s quite obvious regardless of the angle from which you’re examining “Tiki Bar on the Beach” that this is a singer/songwriter who values tonal presence more than a lot of his peers do (which is part of the problem in Nashville these days). From one end of the arrangement to the next, everything is adding something to the story being told at the heart of this single, and while it’s celebratory and brings to mind the most relaxing of moments life can present us with, it isn’t lacking in sonic and melodic bite where it counts the most.
Cut and dry but jam-packed with the kind of charm superstars are made of “Tiki Bar on the Beach” is one slice of chill country music just about anyone from novice critics to seasoned aficionados can fall in love with this June, and it would surprise me a great deal if this didn’t become the overall consensus among listeners. Jarod Grubb is a very affectionate, harmony-focused singer and songwriter who isn’t afraid to put himself out there even when it’s through the metaphorical and implied subtexts of a freewheeling single like this one. I’m really becoming a fan of the charisma he’s got here, and if it’s something I can expect out of his future releases, I believe “Tiki Bar on the Beach” will be the first of many successes his discography contains.