Cory Morrow – “Brand New Me”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | December 10th, 2010

Cory MorrowCory Morrow – or, for many country fans outside of the Texas music scene, that guy who sings “Nashville Blues” – knows a thing or two about redemption.

After a 2005 arrest for drunk driving and cocaine possession left him at a crossroads much different than the questionable cross-genre pairings featured on CMT, the Texas country mainstay gave up his vices, married the Nancy Sepulvado to his George Jones, became a father and along the way recorded a collection of songs to reflect that journey.

Rarely, however, does such a dark chapter spawn a tune as catchy and upbeat as “Brand New Me,” the latest single and title track off Morrow’s current (and, according to the artist, his first sober) album Brand New Me. While its easy production and carefree confessions dare listeners not to tap their toes to the beat, there’s a convincing rawness to his voice that speaks to the before that inspired this after.

Lyrics “There’s a light in my songs I ain’t seen in awhile” confirm the very personal nature of the tune, and add a few layers of been there, done that to its happy-go-lucky vibe. Similarly, underneath playful vignettes such as “I love to get drunk on rock and roll/Watch you dancing in your hippie dress” lurks a sexual energy similar to the baptism by fire that kicks off Brooks and Dunn’s “Brand New Man.”

Background vocalists chime in with harmonies of “you make love, you make love”, and it’s easy to wonder if the singer merely traded in one addiction for another. These layers add just enough heft to a song that takes a seemingly lightweight approach to the heavy topic of rebirth and reinvention.

With more than 17 years of touring under his Texas belt buckle, Morrow is a seasoned performer whose infamously energetic live shows have sometimes trumped his talent for crafting authentic, straightforward mash-ups of country, Red Dirt and rock influences from the likes of Waylon Jennings, Led Zeppelin and friend Pat Green.

“Brand New Me” will fit seamlessly into his live set, but at first glance may also face the downfalls of a honky-tonk hook-up–fun on Friday night, forgotten by Monday morning. And that’s too bad, because underneath its celebratory, breezy flirtation is a prime re-introduction to an artist whose troubled past has laid the foundation for one of his best albums to date.

Thumbs Up

  1. Fizz
    December 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

    “I gave up the booze, I gave up the blow, and I’m today’s guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show!” Ah, not quite, thankfully.

    So now we’re worried he might be a sex-addict because he has a couple references in his song? We’re in seriously bad shape if that’s where country music is! Besides, don’t you know that “alcohol adds the desire but subtracts from the performance?”

  2. Ben Foster
    December 10, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Thumbs up from me too. I enjoy a song that sounds fun and catchy, but still has a bit of a deeper meaning, as opposed to being just frivolous ear candy.

    By the way, Fizz, I don’t think we’re genuinely worried that Cory is a sex addict. I think Karlie was commenting positively on how the song has a bit of a sexual energy to it.

  3. Fizz
    December 10, 2010 at 11:09 am

    “… it’s easy to wonder if the singer merely traded one addiction for another.” Really?

  4. stormy
    December 10, 2010 at 11:32 am

    So now we’re worried he might be a sex-addict because he has a couple references in his song?

    Its not about a sex addiction. Recovering addicts often throw themselves into a relationship because they are using the endorphine raising aspects of a new relationship as a replacement for their addiction. Its why AA suggests you wait a year before you start dating anyone.

  5. Rick
    December 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Sorry, couldn’t even make it through the Amazon snippet. This song has that “Texas Regional” sound and style written all over it that puts me off instantly and totally. Once in awhile a gem does slip through the Red Dirt filter unscathed, like the duet “Oh, Tonight” by Josh Abbott and Kacey Musgraves (a song that rightfully made made Ken Morton’s Top 100 Songs of 2010 list. A wise choice indeed.).

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