Cory Morrow – “Brand New Me”
Cory 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.
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