Guitarist Eric Essix gives his listeners a strong dose of smooth Southern hospitality on this excellent release for Zebra Records. Southbound features 11 great tracks inspired by Essix's southern influences, including a great cover of Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" and one of Brook Benton's biggest hits, "A Rainy Night in Georgia." The guitarist wrote five original songs that are realized with the accompaniment of bassist Sean Michael Ray, Lil' John Roberts on drums, and Kelvin Wooten on Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes, and acoustic piano. Guest appearances by Melvin Butler on saxophones and flutes and Darrell Tibbs on percussion round out the core quartet. One of the most inspirational points on the CD is provided by Minister Valerie Harris and the GLC Praise Team on "People Get Ready." The choir does a stirring gospel version of this song that would have made Curtis Mayfield proud. "Camellia" provides the beautification imagery on the CD and Eric Essix has a great solo to go along with it. Together the group has a lot to say about their homeland and there's plenty to hear. From the R&B, gospel, blues, funk, and southern rock sound reminiscent of the Allman Brothers, Essix and his great guitar capture the natural essence of a "southern groove" master. Great CD.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein