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| 11 October 2020 | Reply

Label: Better Noise Music

Release Date: August 7, 2020

Rating: 98%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I dig so many different styles and genres, including country…. especially when it has a rock and roll spirit woven into it.  The recent offering from Cory Marks has that and then some, while also staying true to his roots as needed on the various tracks.  Disc opener “Devil’s Grin” kicks down the door and delivers a sound that should please most country fans as well as rockers that dig a great groove and killer attitude woven into their music.  The vocals are some of the strongest on the disc and the heavy handed bottom end keeps the track flowing.  This track sets the pace for the entire disc and it does it well.  “Outlaws & Outsiders” takes the energy and focus of the opener and rolls it into a track that digs deeper into the rock and country categories with special guests Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch), Travis Tritt, and guitar work from Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe).  The attitude of the track drives the song, even with a slowed tempo compared to the previous track.  The swirl of Marks, Moody, and Tritt in the chorus takes the sound to a different level.  “Blame It On The Double” is another track that hits the rock quotient and blends it with the country sound and takes a ride, landing in my sweet spot when listening to modern country (so over bro country).  The vocals are perfect for the lyrics, swirling enough grit and attitude to deliver the song with precision.  The guitar and banjo work on the bridge compliments and elevates the track.  “Who I Am” is a killer country song with a bit of rock swagger tossed in for good measure.  This one allows Marks to let his country influences to carry the vocal, with a bit of twang and even moments of vibrato that stand out in the chorus.  “Better Off” is a great song that drew me in from the vocals to the guitars and the thunderous drums and bass line.  The lyrics tell a story we have all experienced or thought at one time or another.  The song is another example of how well Cory has merged country and rock.  “Keep Doing What I Do” is another up tempo track that builds on the country vibe of the rest of the disc, adds some rock groove, and keeps the party going.  The bass and drums solidify the songs roots while the guitars give the song a wide berth to roam and run.  Marks’ vocals are made for this track, as he tosses in some twang, some attitude, and on the chorus leading into the bridge he gives us a glimpse into his vocal range.

“Good to Be Us” swerves through the mix and embraces the country influences in Cory’s background while allowing him to pepper some rock in the song.  The chorus is contagious and gets you singing along before the second verse is through.  Be sure to check out the musical accompaniment throughout the track, as it is the perfect foundation for the vocals and the track overall.  “Another Night In Jail” is the first track on the to slow the paced and drop the intensity (through the verse at least), but the quality doesn’t drop at all.  The lyrics are poignant and perfectly delivered with emotion and intensity by Cory’s vocals.  The band kicks in at the chorus and adds punch to the track.  My favorite on the disc is the powerful track “Drive” that has all the right components of an amazing song: a driving cadence courtesy of the guitar / banjo work and a bottom end that gives the track a filler foundation that keeps the track from running away when Marks drops his vocal from the opening line to the last note.  I dare you to get through this track without turning up the volume and singing along before the first listen is through.  I can’t wait for next summer and hopefully more normal conditions, because I just found the next killer summer song.  “My Whiskey Your Wine” is the most country track on the disc, thanks to the lyrics and Marks’ vocal – twang and all.  The fiddle is a perfect touch that adds to the songs overall vibe.  Keeping things interesting, Cory calls on Lzzy Hale for Halestorm to duet with him on the beautiful “Out In The Rain.”  The lyric is amazing and the slight twang in Cory’s vocal is the perfect partner for Lzzy’s gritty delivery.  The harmonies on the chorus add depth to the song and make you forget this is a slower track.  The string arrangement that supports their vocals though the bridge is a game changer; the vocal trade off on the bridge and outro between Marks and Hale is a sonic match made in heaven.  Disc closer “She’s Hollywood” brings the rock guitars back for one more dip into the musical pool along with some country groove.  The drumming leads the charge and the wall of sound layered vocals on the chorus give this song an arena feel.  I cannot believe it took me this long to really dig into this disc, but so glad I finally did.

Tracklisting: Devil’s Grin – Outlaws & Outsiders – Good to Be Us – Blame It On The Double – Another Night In Jail – Who I Am – Drive – Better Off – My Whiskey Your Wine – Keep Doing What I Do – Out In The Rain – She’s Hollywood






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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