Record Of The Week # 52

November 8, 2018

Cory Morrow – Whiskey & Pride

I fell in love with contemporary Country music at the start of the millennium, when a whole raft of artists I’d never heard of like Pat Green, Dwight Yoakam, Eve Selis, Sara Evans, Clint Black and Gary Allan moseyed into my life. I found tremendous musicianship, great tunes with uplifting choruses, stories about life that I could relate to and seldom a duff track out of twelve.

Cory Morrow might not, in my opinion, be worth the ‘legend’ status his website ascribes him but he’s a Texan delight and this album transported me back to 2000 with its 13 tracks of exceptional Country. You’ll find a tight band able to produce note-perfect upbeat songs and words that encompass love, life and the spiritual. Morrow has been around since the start of the millennium, and is clearly no newcomer as (according to a brief Google search) he has an apparent net worth of $2 million! (no doubt his accountants are unaware of any figures like this). His adult life has been through the admitted usual mire of substance abuse and hard-living, but he’s well on the other side as songs like the uproarious Christian “Revival” testifies (Oh Lordy!)

The title track and single, “Whisky And Pride” comes with a splendid video where our recalcitrant loser receives another shot of fire water from the bar man, whilst the live honky tonk band bait him from behind. They suggest that he should swallow his pride (rather the whiskey) and head home to the missus. (Spoiler alert – a quick check of his mobile at the end suggests he does.) It’s here the craft of the album is demonstrated with a great tune, splendid wordplay and the type of rhythm driven by an accordionno less, that will have you shuffling your feet.

Lloyd Maines is another Texan with sensational producer credits, probably best known for his work with his daughter’s band – the Dixie Chicks. His production here regularly lets acoustic guitar come forward in the mix and the quick and beautifully picked lines are melodic and dove tail perfectly with Morrow’s attractive and achy baritone.

“Top Of My Heart” is a reflective and tender love song with the narrator trying to look within to find the ability to commit to the right woman. Country music on occasion professes to be the white man’s blues and “Blue Collar” extols the virtues of hard work, modesty, paying one’s dues, being charitable, being humble and not least being satisfied with your lot. I’m not sure I’m convinced about all that but it is a familiar Bible Belt mentality revisited even if it does emanate from a little further South.

Eleven of the 13 tracks are composed by Morrow and there isn’t a misstep to be found. It’s this kind of Country music which first sparked my interest in the genre and I urge you to invest and to wear this out. It’s the real thing.

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