George McCorkle is quickly becoming one of the finest and most sought after songwriters on Nashville's Music Row. His collaborations with other writers like Marshall Chapman, Scott Miller, and Mike Battle have resulted in some of the most original songs to come out of Music City of late.
On this, his debut solo album, McCorkle collects 12 of the best of his original compositions, while managing to pay a respectful homage to the band that first launched his name into the spotlight, the Marshall Tucker Band. A member of the Spartanburg, SC-based country-rock group from their formation in 1971 until the disbandment of the original lineup in 1984, McCorkle made his way to Nashville several years back in order to hone the craft that he first developed with MTB on songs like "Last of the Singing Cowboys," "Silverado," and "Fire on the Mountain," which is included here in a whole new 21st century version.
McCorkle tips his Stetson to his old band with "The Journey Home," a heartfelt tribute to old friend and bandmate Toy Caldwell, who died in 1993. The song is filled with references to Toy, the MTB, and the Southern-rock world that surrounded them during the '70s. The first tune on the album, "Somebody New," is an uptempo rockabilly number that gets the fingers to tapping from the very first note. Same with "Move in a Circle" and "Rocket Shoes," another couple of danceable tracks. "Promised Land" is downright funky, laced with obvious Little Feat influences. The title cut, "American Street," is lyrical genius. An observation of the homeless, it's a little Bob Dylan and a shot of John Prine, with a Southern accent.
"Law Called This Morning" has all the flavor of B.B. King or Stevie Ray Vaughan, and features some smooth saxophone from Randy Leago. The two highlights of the disc are up next: "Crazy Molly Monroe," the story of a man who falls in love with a woman in an old book, may well be the best song George has penned to date.
Right on the heels of "Molly" comes one of the finest songs of love and peace to be written in years. "Peace Stories" keeps the dream of peace on earth alive and well, with a beautiful melody and some fine acoustic guitar work.
Closing out the set are the Tom Petty-ish "Drowning on Dry Land" and the funky R&B rocker "Land of the Free," featuring Theresa Andersson, who shares lead vocal duties with George. It's been over 15 years since we've heard George McCorkle on record, but it was worth the wait. He has created some fine music that is sure to propel him even further up the ladder of success.